Veterans Affairs details teaming framework for $14B transformation recompete Sean Gladwell

The department's main health care agency further spells out the roles and responsibilities of prime contractors as team leaders ahead of a final solicitation release.

The Veterans Affairs Department agency responsible for VA's health care system is moving ahead on the pathway to recompeting its go-to modernization contract vehicle with the release of a draft solicitation.

In a familiar refrain, the Veterans Health Administration heavily emphasizes the word "team" in the draft for the Integrated Healthcare Transformation 2.0 contract released Thursday.

VHA now says it intends to choose six teams led by service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses for prime spots. The definitive range of awards for this set-aside contract is between four and eight.

IHT 2.0 will have a potential 10-year period of performance and a ceiling of up to $14 billion, or around 10 times greater than that of the current vehicle awarded in 2020 at a $1.5 billion ceiling.

The draft RFP also sheds more light on VHA is looking for in Veteran Integrated Teams, the labeling that each group selected for an award will receive. Each VIT will be overseen by the prime contractor to be designated as Veteran Integrated Team Agile Lead, or VITAL.

Eligible SDVOSB companies may pursue the opportunity on their own, but VHA anticipates that numerous teaming partners with that designation and others will be necessary to fulfill the requirements.

Following award, VITALs will be considered small businesses for the initial five-year base period but have to re-certify their status after each of the five individual option years.

VITALs that are joint ventures can lose their eligibility if the SDVOSB partner no longer qualifies as a small business. Given the set-aside nature of the contract, the prime must perform at least 50% of the team's work and cannot subcontract 50% or more to non-similarly situated entities.

The agency also has spelled out processes and procedures for VITALs to replace key team members if need be, as long as the new partner has equal or greater capability compared to who is being replaced.

Any team member who is removed by a VITAL will be restricted from joining another group for at least six months.

To maintain a robust lineup of teams, VHA will provide an open enrollment period to facilitate the addition of new partners during a two-week window near the end of select contract years.

VHA will then review proposed changes, either via replacement or addition, within 30 days of submission and provide feedback and/or approval.

The agency will do its part to help team leaders at least know what is out there via a Free Agent VIT List containing the names of non-awardees seeking to join a group.

Partners that have been off-ramped or replaced will also be on that list of companies, which VHA will update on a quarterly basis. VHA will release periodic notices notifying industry of opportunities to get on the list.

Regarding next steps from the draft: VHA continues to anticipate March 14 as the date of release for the final request for proposals and is not taking questions at this time. The draft RFP is solely to read through and take notes from before the final version goes live.