NIH issues $20 billion CIO-SP3 RFP

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

The National Institutes of Health’s much-anticipated government-wide acquisition contract, CIO-SP3, is finally out, and vendors interested in bidding must have specific health IT capabilities.

After nearly a year delay, NIH issued the request for proposal Sept. 17 on

NIH states bids for the 10-year indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) task order contract, which has a ceiling of $20 billion, are due Nov. 19. NIH said on its website the small business version of CIO-SP3 will be released soon.

NIH issued the draft RFP August 2009, only to have the Office of Federal Procurement Policy take nine months to decide whether to renew its GWAC authority. OFPP did so in July. By law, OFPP has to approve all GWACs, and there was some question whether another large IT contract was necessary.

In the end, OFPP found “NIH’s proposed GWACs will fill an important need by agencies with health-related responsibilities, including those in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The programmatic expertise of its in-house scientists and medical experts will provide strong support for the award and management of its contracts.”

The contract is asking vendors to bid on up to 10 task areas, but NIH states that vendors must provide “examples of solutions and services pertaining to biomedical research, health sciences, and healthcare” for functional area one–IT services for biomedical research, health sciences and healthcare

“[A] ll other nine task areas may be used to support a health-related mission,” NIH states. “For this reason, in addition to providing an expertise in IT services, the contractor must demonstrate that it has a domain-specific capability in a health-related mission.”

NIH states that work under task area one may include everything from modernizing existing health IT systems to IT clinical support services to telemedicine.

The other task areas include:

  • Chief Information Officer (CIO) Support
  • Imaging
  • Outsourcing
  • IT operations and maintenance
  • Integration services
  • Critical infrastructure protection and information assurance
  • Digital government
  • Enterprise management systems
  • Software development

“The contract also contains general IT services partly because healthcare systems are increasingly integrated within a broader IT architecture, requiring a systems approach to their implementation and a sound infrastructure for their operation,” the RFP states.

CIO-SP3 is the follow-on to CIO-SP2, which has 48 separate contracts: 27 were awarded to large businesses and 21 were awarded to small businesses. CIO-SP2 has a $19.5 billion ceiling, but agencies have done less than $7 billion worth of business on it since 2000. The current contracts expire in December and NIH already is working on extensions for CIO-SP2.

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