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Office of Acquisition and Logistics (OAL)

Open Market Waiver Request Process

 
Tel: (708) 786-7737 Fax: (708) 786-5828 fss.help@va.gov Contacts Survey
 
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This requirement only applies to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) ordering activities placing a delivery order or establishing a BPA under the FSC 65/66 mandatory use Schedules.

When to Submit a Waiver Request

In accordance with VHA Directive 7408.1 Requesting Waivers from the Requirement to use VA FSS Schedules, VA ordering activities are required to submit a request for waiver in order to waive the requirement to purchase goods and services from mandatory use Schedule programs (FSC 65 and Cost-Per-Test in FSC 66) if it has been determined that…

  • A like or similar item is on Schedule contract but there is a compelling clinical need to use a non-contract item.  Your request must include documentation supporting the compelling clinical need to use the non–contract item.

  • Your research indicates that the Schedules program does not offer a like or similar item.  Your request should state that the relevant Schedule program does not carry a like or similar item on contract.

If your research indicates that the required product falls within FSC 65/66 but it is not covered by an existing SIN category you are not required to submit a waiver request and you may order the item using open market ordering procedures.

Clinical Justification

Like or Similar Item (n.)  An item that performs the same basic function as the specified item.

Clinical Need (n.)  A need that highlights a specific clinical exception (e.g. a specific patient with special needs, allergies, etc.)

Be sure that when the clinician is putting together his/her clinical justification they ask themselves:

  1. What are the absolute minimum requirements I need to adequately care for my patient?

  2. Does the item offer a technological advance that will ultimately help me provide increased and more efficient patient care?

  3. Or, are the technological advances simply “bells and whistles” that add no real value to the performance of safe and efficacious patient care?

Neither single facility staff preference (clinician preference) nor the appearance of lower costs are acceptable justifications for requesting a waiver.

Important Considerations

  1. Single facility staff preference and/or the appearance of lower cost to the facility are not sufficient justification for requesting a waiver from the requirement to use VA Schedule contracts.

  2. The complexity of your purchase does not affect the requirement to submit a waiver request.

  3. When trying to decide if you need to submit a waiver request:
    • Focus on the SIN description
    • If the item seems like it might fall under an existing SIN then submit a waiver.

    Submitting a Waiver & Review Procedures

    Local Review Procedures

    Local procedures may be established by individual medical facilities or by the VISN on behalf of the medical facilities.  Network directors are encouraged to establish local field review and approval procedures deemed appropriate for sound oversight.  All local procedures must include review & approval at a level no lower than the facility Chief of Staff and Chief Medical Officer prior to forwarding to VHA Procurement & Logistics Office.

    1. Complete VA Form 0753A Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) Request for Waiver and submit it with your acquisition package for review by your supervisor.

    2. Your supervisor will provide the approved package to the VISN CLO.

    3. The VHA Procurement & Logistics Officer (P&LO) will review and, on behalf of the requesting VISN, forward the approved package to the NAC HCA for final review and approval.  All communications regarding waivers must be directed to vhawreqs@va.gov.

    NAC Review Procedures

    The NAC HCA will consider all comments and recommendations when making an approval decision.  A senior contract specialist will conduct a final review of the package and forward his/her comments to the HCA for final determination.  Generally, the NAC review will be completed within 30 calendar days from receipt of the request from the P&LO.  Actual review times will depend on the complexity, accuracy, and completeness of the request.

    VA Form 0753A Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) Request for Waiver

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    It is important that you provide an accurate & complete VA Form 0753A with your request package.  Best practices include:

    • Complete all blocks.  Include descriptive literature that explains the characteristics of the requested item.

    • Provide a full description of the inadequacies of the Schedule item.  Include the ways that the item does not meet the clinical needs of your patient.

    • Provide documentary evidence of the technical, economic, or other advantages of acquiring the non–contract item and how it is better than the FSS item.

    • Submit the price of each item, estimated purchase quantity, and annual usage statement.

    • Include all recommendations/remarks made by all approving officials.

    Emergency Waiver Requests

    The facility Chief of Staff has the authority to authorize an emergency waiver request.  Emergency waivers will be considered only in circumstances that require an emergency acquisition to ensure appropriate patient care — failure to submit a waiver request in a timely manner will not result in the issuance of an emergency waiver.

    VA Direction 7408.1 does not outline specific process requirements for the review & issuance of an emergency waiver.  Instead, ordering activities should rely on local & VISN procedures.  You must provide a signed copy of the emergency waiver to the NAC upon issuance.

    Email fss.help@va.gov for a copy of VA Form 0753A!

    Assistance

    Questions or concerns?  We’re here to help!  Contact us at (708) 786-7737 or fss.help@va.govNAC management is also available to answer your questions.

    Check out the FSS FAQ library for more information about the waiver process!