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Sole Source Contracting with Academic Affiliates – Volunteers for Strategic Work Groups

FROM: Norbert Doyle, VHA Chief Procurement and Logistics Officer
TO: All VHA University Partners

In the summer of 2012, the VHA Medical Sharing Office (MSO) and VA’s Office of Acquisition & Logistics sponsored three forums in Boston MA, Seattle WA, and St Louis MO to discuss sole source contracting with academic affiliates. The forums focused on the provision of services, including key processes and tools in the contracting process. The forums also served to identify key challenges that needed to be addressed in the future.

Based on the discussions at the forums, the MSO identified four areas of primary concern: 1) Contract Pricing and Documentation; 2) Contract Performance and Quality Assurance, Credentialing, and Privileging; 3) Contract Policy and Information Security; 4) Training for Affiliates. Reports describing the forums will be distributed to the forum attendees and provided to the workgroup participants.

The MSO plans to convene four work-groups to address identified concerns. To this end, it is seeking participation by members in the academic community who are interested in working with VHA to address these issues. Each work-group will include representation from affiliates and MSO staff, as well as other VHA stakeholders. If you are interested in participating, please contact Betty "Charlie" Benmark, Director Medical Sharing/Affiliate Office, or call 615-225-6954 by July 5, 2013.

The MSO plans to convene the first meeting via teleconference of the work-groups on or around July 15 with a follow-up meeting in August; and possibly a third meeting in September. Current plans call for presenting the recommendations of the work-groups to the VHA leadership in the 1st Quarter of Fiscal Year 14 (Fall). Any travel associated with this initiative will be the responsibility of the traveler.

Strategic Action Plan

MSO evaluated the Academic Affiliate Forums Summary and Analysis report provided by Ambit and other information in order to establish an operational plan forward in response to the areas of concern identified in the Affiliate Forums. MSO considered the following information in development of the strategic action plan:

  • Academic Affiliate Forums Summary and Analysis report provided by Ambit
  • Existing and deployed MSO and VHA initiatives
  • VA OIG Reports
  • Feedback from internal stakeholders involved in the affiliate contract process (i.e. Contracting Officers)

More information about the strategic plan can be found here.

The following three reports are summaries of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Academic Affiliate Forums held in 2012 between academic affiliate representatives and VHA representatives. These three forums were hosted by VHA to share information with its affiliate partners.