Report Summary

Title: ARRA Oversight Advisory Report: Review of VHA’s Efforts to Meet Competition Requirements and Monitor Recovery Act Awards
Report Number: 10-00969-248
Issue Date: 9/17/2010
City/State:
VA Office: Veterans Health Administration (VHA)
Office of Acquisitions, Logistics, and Construction (OALC)
Report Author: Office of Audits and Evaluations
Report Type: Audits, Reviews & Evaluations
Release Type: Unrestricted
Summary: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) provided VA with about $1 billion for non-recurring maintenance (NRM) and energy projects to correct, replace, upgrade, and modernize existing infrastructure and utility systems at VA medical centers. This OIG review evaluated Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) efforts to meet Recovery Act competition requirements, pre-award monitoring processes for NRM Recovery Act awards, and compliance with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction (OALC) policies, and Office of Management and Budget and VA Recovery Act implementation guidance. During the review, we examined a sample of 65 (14 percent) Recovery Act NRM awards totaling about $87.5 million (33 percent) from the eCMS Recovery Act Awards report, dated December 7, 2009. We reviewed Recovery Act policies, procedures, available contract award data, pre-award procurement actions, and documents in eCMS, and conducted interviews with VHA and OALC contracting staff. VHA Recovery Act awards consistently met competition requirements, and Recovery Act and Veterans Integrated Service Network contract review processes generally ensured contracting officers competed awards, evaluated prices, and assessed bids in accordance with Recovery Act guidance and FAR. However, these review processes needed strengthening to ensure contracting officers properly evaluated prospective contractors and completed required contractor responsibility determinations before they awarded contracts and orders. In addition, 13 Recovery Act awards lacked required Recovery Act clauses. As a result, VHA lacked assurance that NRM Recovery Act awards fully met FAR and OALC policy and Recovery Act requirements intended to ensure the efficient and effective use of funds. In the advisory report, we made five recommendations for VA to develop a comprehensive policy on contractor responsibility determinations and to strengthen its contract monitoring for contractor responsibility determinations and required Recovery Act clauses. The Under Secretary for Health and the Executive Director for the OALC agreed with the findings and recommendations and we consider the planned actions acceptable. We will follow up on their implementation.