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The John M. Eisenberg Center for Clinical Decisions and Communications Sciences

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Contents
Section A- Solicitation Form
Section B - Supplies Or Services And Prices/Costs
Section C - Description/ Specification/ Work Statement
Section D - Packaging and Marking
Section E - Inspection and Acceptance
Section F - Period Of Performance And Delivery Schedule
Section G - Contract Administration Data
Section H - Special Contract Requirements
Section I - Contract Clauses
Section J - List of Attachments
Section K - Representations, Certifications And Other Statements Of Offerors
Section L - Instructions, Conditions And Notices To Offeror
Section M - Evaluation Factors For Award
Attachments
  1. Past Performance Questionnaire and Contractor Performance Form
  2. Proposal Intent Form
  3. Breakdown of Proposed Estimated Cost and Labor Hours
  4. Performance Requirements Summary
  5. AHRQ Application and System Development Requirements
  6. HHS Web Standards
  7. AHRQ Linking Policy
  8. Web Accessibility Checklist

Request for Proposal


Solicitation No. AHRQ-08-10015

Date Issued: May 20, 2008

Date Questions Due:  June 3, 2008 12:00 PM

Date Notice of Intent Due: June 10, 2008

Proposals Due: July 9, 2008 12:00 PM EST


You are invited to submit a proposal to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) for Request for Proposal (RFP) No. AHRQ-08-10015, entitled "The John M. Eisenberg Center for Clinical Decisions and Communications Sciences". Your proposal must be developed and submitted in accordance with the requirements and instructions of this RFP.

The Government anticipates awarding one (1) contract from this one solicitation.  A cost reimbursement performance-based contract is contemplated for a period of two years with 3 one-year option periods.  Please see Section L.10 Technical Proposal Instructions for further information.  The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code that best describes the requirement is 541611.

Offerors shall submit the following:

  1. Technical Proposal (See Section L.10) (Original, 10 copies, 1 electronic copy)
  2. Past Performance Information (See Section L.11) (Original and 3 copies)
  3. Small Disadvantaged Business Participation Plan (See Section L.12) (Original and 2 copies, 1 electronic copy)
  4. Business Proposal (See Section L.13) (Original and 3 copies, 1 electronic copy)

Your technical proposal must be concisely written and should be limited to 100 typewritten pages (double-spaced, single sided), exclusive of personnel qualifications (i.e., resume, etc., see Section L.10 for additional details).  Your appendices are limited to 100 pages (single sided) including all resumes, bibliographies, exhibits and attachments.  This limitation is for administrative purposes only and exceeding the limitation shall not, of itself, be considered a basis for rejection of your proposal.

For this particular acquisition, the AHRQ recommended goal (as a percentage of total contract value for the base period) is 20% for Small Businesses,  which shall included at least 5.5% (as a percentage of total planned subcontract dollars for the base period) for Small Disadvantaged Businesses, at least 5% (as a percentage of total planned subcontract dollars total planned subcontract dollars for the base period) for Women-Owned Small Businesses, and at least 3% (as a percentage of total planned subcontract dollars for the base period) for HUBZone Small Businesses and at least 3% (as a percentage of total planned subcontract dollars for the base period) for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses.  These goals represent AHRQ's expectations of the minimum level for subcontracting with small business at the prime contract level.  Any goal stated less than the AHRQ recommended goal shall be justified and is subject to negotiation.

Your proposal must provide the full name of your company, the address, including county, Tax Identification Number (TIN), DUN and Bradstreet No., and if different, the address to which payment should be mailed. 

YOUR ATTENTION IS CALLED TO THE LATE PROPOSAL PROVISIONS PROVIDED IN SECTION L.3 OF THIS RFP.  YOUR ATTENTION IS ALSO DIRECTED TO THE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL INSTRUCTIONS PROVIDED IN SECTION L.10 OF THE SOLICITATION.

If you intend to submit a proposal in response to this solicitation, please inform the Contracting Officer of your intent by completing the Proposal Intent Response Form (attached) and submit the form no later than June 10, 2008.  Please fax it to 301-427-1740, Attention: Jessica Alderton, Contracting Officer or email to jessica.alderton@ahrq.hhs.gov.

Questions regarding this solicitation shall be received in this office no later than June 3, 2008. (See Section L.7).   All questions shall be submitted electronically by e-mail to Jessica Alderton, Contracting Officer at the following email address: jessica.alderton @ahrq.hhs.gov .   The subject line should be marked "Proposal Questions RFP No. AHRQ-08-10015." 

Answers to questions will be provided in the form of an Amendment to this solicitation and will be posted on AHRQ's web page: www.ahrq.gov under "Funding Opportunities," "Contracts" and the Federal Business Opportunities web page: www.fedbizopps.gov.  It is your responsibility to monitor the web sites where the RFP will be posted to learn about any amendments to the solicitation. 

Discussions with any other individual outside the Division of Contracts Management, may result in rejection of the potential offeror's proposal.

The proposal shall be signed by an authorized official to bind your organization and must be received in our Contracts Office no later than 12 noon, EST, on July 9, 2008.  Your proposal must be mailed to the following address:

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Division of Contracts Management
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, Maryland  20850

Hand carried proposals may be dropped off at the above location.  However, please allow ample time as proposals cannot be accepted until they have gone through security.  We will not be held responsible for any delays that may be incurred getting your proposal through security.

NOTE: The U.S. Postal Service's "Express Mail" does not deliver to our Rockville, Maryland address.  Packages delivered via this service will be held at a local post office for pick-up.  The Government will not be responsible for picking up any mail at a local post office.   If a proposal is not received at the place, date, and time specified herein, it will be considered a "late proposal."

The RFP does not commit the Government to pay any cost for the preparation and submission of a proposal.  It is also brought to your attention that the Contracting Officer is the only individual who can legally commit the Government to the expenditure of public funds in connection with the proposed acquisition.

In accordance with Federal Acquisition Circular (FAC) 2001-16, all contractors must be registered in the central contractor registration (CCR) database in order to conduct business with the government [See Section I -  FAR clause 52.204-7 Central Contractor Registration (OCT 2003), Alternate 1 (Oct 2003)] .  As stated in paragraph (h) of this clause, additional information can be obtained at http://www.ccr.gov or by calling 1-888-227-2423, or 269-961-5757. 


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Section Description Pages
PART I
Section A Solicitation 1-2
Table of Contents 3
Section B Supplies or Services & Prices/Costs 4-7
Section C Description/Specification/Work Statement 8-52
Section D Packaging and Marking 53
Section E Inspection and Acceptance 53
Section F Deliveries or Performance 54-60
Section G Contract Administration Data 61-64
Section H Special Contract Requirements 65-73
PART II
Section I Contract Clauses 74-78
PART III
Section J List of Attachments 79
PART IV
Section K Representations and Instructions 80-87
Section L Instructions, Conditions & Notices to Offerors  88-110
Section M Evaluation Factors for Award 111-115
Attachments
1. Past Performance Questionnaire and Contractor Performance Form 116-121
2. Proposal Intent Response Sheet 122
3. Breakdown of Proposed Estimated Cost and Labor Hours 123-124
4. Performance Requirements Summary 125-136
5. AHRQ Application and System Development Requirements 137-147
6. HHS Web Standards 148-169
7. AHRQ Linking Policy 1 170-180
8. Web Accessibility Checklist 181-189

 


Return to Contents

SECTION B-SUPPLIES OR SERVICES AND PRICES/COSTS

B.1  BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF SUPPLIES OR SERVICES

The John M. Eisenberg Center for Clinical Decisions and Communications Sciences".  See Section C for a complete description.

B.2  ESTIMATED COST

  1. The estimated cost (exclusive of fees) for performance of the work under this two year (2) year contract, including direct and indirect costs is $ (TO BE NEGOTIATED)
  2. The fixed fee for this contract is $ (TO BE NEGOTIATED).  The fixed fee shall be paid in installments based on the percentage of completion of work, as determined by the Contracting Officer. Payment shall be subject to the withholding provisions of the Clause ALLOWABLE COST AND PAYMENT and FIXED FEE incorporated herein.
  3. The maximum amount of award fee that may be earned for this contract is $ (TO BE NEGOTIATED).  Award fee earned shall be based upon an evaluation and determination by the Government as to the Contractor's level of performance in accordance with the following procedures:
    1. The Contractor's performance shall be evaluated on a semi-annual basis, during the performance of the contract.  The award periods and maximum amounts for each are listed in Section H, Special Contract Requirements, H.8 Performance Evaluation and Award Fee.
    2. The criteria set forth in the Performance Requirements Summary, Attachment 4, shall be used to evaluate the Contractor's performance.
    3. The Contractor further agrees that the final determination as to the amount of Award Fee earned will be made by the Contracting Officer, taking into consideration an analysis and evaluation of the Contractor's performance made by the Evaluation Group described in Section H.8, and shall not be subject to the terms of the "Disputes" clause of this contract.  The Contractor shall be advised in writing of the decision setting forth reasons why the Award Fee was earned or why it was not earned, in order that the Contractor may improve its performance during the next six (6) month period, if the latter is applicable.
    4. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this contract, the fee for performing this contract shall not exceed the statutory limitations prescribed in the first sentence of Section 304(b) of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act (41 USC 254(b)) for services other than research, development or experimental work.
    5. Authorization to claim and be reimbursed for award fee under this contract will be accomplished by a signed Contracting Officer's Authorization (COA) letter, issued when the award fee is determined to be due.  The COA letter shall set forth the amount of award fee to be paid and shall indicate the performance period evaluated.  Upon receipt of the COA letter, the Contractor may submit a public voucher for payment of the total award fee earned for the period evaluated.  Payment of the award fee shall be subject to the withholding provision of the clause entitled "Fixed Fee."
  4. The Government's maximum obligation, represented by the sum of the estimated cost plus the fixed fee and award fee obtainable for the contract period is as follows:     (TO BE NEGOTIATED)
Period of Performance Estimated Cost Fixed Fee Maximum Award Fee Total Estimated Cost Plus All Fees
Year 1
08/15/08 – 08/14/09
       
Year 2
08/15/09 – 08/14/10
       
TOTAL        
  1. Total funds currently available for payment and allotted to this contract are $(TO BE NEGOTIATED) of which $ (TO BE NEGOTIATED) represents the estimated cost, and of which $(TO BE NEGOTIATED) represents the fixed fee and $(TO BE NEGOTIATED) represents the award fee pool.
  2. It is estimated that the amount currently allotted will cover performance of the contract through (TO BE NEGOTIATED).
  3. The Contracting Officer may allot additional funds to the contract without the concurrence of the Contractor.  For further provisions on funding, see the LIMITATION OF COST/LIMITATION OF FUNDS and the ALLOWABLE COST AND PAYMENT (AND FIXED FEE) clauses incorporated herein.
  4. COST AND PAYMENT (AND FIXED FEE) clauses incorporated into this contract.

B.3  OPTION PERIOD

In the event that the option period is exercised, the total estimated cost, fixed fee and award fee will be increased by the following amounts:  (TO BE NEGOTIATED)

Period of Performance Estimated Cost Fixed Fee Maximum Award Fee Total Estimated Cost Plus All Fees
Option Year 1
08/15/10 – 08/14/11
       
Option Year 2
08/15/11 – 08/14/12
       
Option Year 3
08/15/12 – 08/14/13
       

B.4  PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO DIRECT COSTS

  1. Items Unallowable Unless Otherwise Provided Notwithstanding the clauses, ALLOWABLE COST AND PAYMENT, and FIXED FEE, incorporated into this contract, unless authorized in writing by the Contracting Officer, the costs of the following items or activities shall be unallowable as direct costs:
    1. Acquisition, by purchase or lease, of any interest in real property;
    2. Rearrangement or alteration of facilities;
    3. Purchase or lease of any item of general purpose-office furniture or office equipment regardless of dollar value. (General purpose equipment is defined as any items of personal property which are usable for purposes other than research, such as office equipment and furnishings, pocket calculators, etc.);
    4. Accountable Government property (defined as both real and personal property with an acquisition cost of $1,000 or more, with a life expectancy of more than two years) and "sensitive items" (defined and listed in the Contractor's Guide for Control of Government Property, 1990, regardless of acquisition value;
    5. Travel to attend general scientific meetings;
    6. Foreign Travel;
    7. Any costs incurred prior to the contract's effective date;
    8. Rental of meeting rooms not otherwise expressly paid for by the contract;
    9. Any formal subcontract arrangements not otherwise expressly provided for in the contract
    10. Consultant fees in excess of $800/day; and
    11. Information Technology hardware or software.
  2. This contract is subject to the provisions of Public Law (P.L.) 99-234 which amends the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act to provide that contractor costs for travel, including lodging, other subsistence, and incidental expenses, shall be allowable only to the extent that they do not exceed the amount allowed for Federal employees.  The Contractor, therefore, shall invoice and be reimbursed for all travel costs in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) 31.205-46.

Return to Contents

SECTION C - DESCRIPTION/ SPECIFICATION/ WORK STATEMENT

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is soliciting proposals for a Clinical Decisions and Communications Science Center (Decision Sciences Center).  The Center will work with AHRQ and its contractors to implement Section 1013 of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) which focuses on comparative effectiveness of clinical therapeutics and appropriate clinical approaches.  In addition, the Center will assist AHRQ in promoting the usability and comprehension of complex scientific information for health care decision makers.

Activities of the Decision Sciences Center will support the mandate to disseminate the scientific evidence in a form that is understandable and accessible to health care decision makers, namely, patients, providers and policymakers.  This section of the mandate supports the basic premise that patient safety and health care quality can be enhanced by ensuring health care decisions are based on quality evidence.  AHRQ's Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPCs), other synthesis organizations, and AHRQ's Effective Health Care (EHC) Program research contracts and grants (e.g., DEcIDE Network, Centers for Education and Research in Therapeutics (CERTs), etc.) will develop scientific evidence about the comparative effectiveness, outcomes, appropriateness, and provision of such items and services, including prescription drugs.  The Decision Sciences Center will in turn translate the scientific evidence into targeted products for patients, providers, policymakers and the public.  This primary activity will require familiarity with the evidence reviews and other research findings which will guide product development.

Other Decision Sciences Center activities will facilitate greater access to and understanding of scientific evidence as well as provide insights into the various factors that influence health care decisions, the identification of partners for disseminating and leveraging information in collaboration with components of AHRQ, including the Office of Communication and Knowledge Transfer.  The Decision Sciences Center is encouraged to be innovative in its thinking and approach regarding contract tasks.

The Decision Sciences Center will be expected to work closely with AHRQ Offices and Centers (http://www.ahrq.gov/legacy/about/offcntrs.htm) and AHRQ programs, involved with implementing Section 1013, including the Scientific Resource Center, the EPCs, the AHRQ EHC research programs, and other synthesis organizations.

  1. Background

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) was established in 1989 as the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research.  Its reauthorizing legislation (42 U.S.C. 299 et seq; "Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999") renamed the Agency as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and established it as the lead Federal agency for enhancing the safety, quality, appropriateness, and effectiveness of health services and access to such services.

To achieve these goals, the Agency conducts and supports a broad base of scientific research and promotion of improvements in clinical and health system practices, including the prevention of diseases and other health conditions.  AHRQ sponsors and conducts research that develops and presents evidence-based information on healthcare outcomes, quality, patient safety, cost, use and access.  Included in AHRQ's mandate is support of generation, synthesis and dissemination of scientific evidence, including effectiveness research and analytic methods.  AHRQ also sponsors and conducts research on existing as well as innovative technologies, and conducts research on methods for measuring quality and strategies for improving quality.

AHRQ recognizes that a number of populations experience persistent disparities in access to care, quality of care, and health outcomes.  To address these disparities, AHRQ encourages research projects, including work performed by the EPCs and EHC Program research contracts and grantees, and the Decision Sciences Center to include special populations such as low-income groups, racial and ethnic minority groups, women, children, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities and chronic health conditions.  AHRQ-supported research helps health care decision makers - patients and clinicians, health system leaders, and policymakers - make more informed decisions and improve the quality of health care.

In 2003, the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act was enacted into law.  Section 1013 of MMA authorizes AHRQ to conduct research, demonstrations, and evaluations designed to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).  The essential goals of the Section 1013 mandate are to develop valid evidence, and make it easily accessible to decision makers, about the comparative effectiveness of different treatments and appropriate clinical approaches to difficult health problems.  Achieving these key goals will encompass reviewing, synthesizing, and translating published and unpublished scientific evidence, as well as identifying important issues for which existing scientific evidence is insufficient for making adequate decisions about health care.  Through the EPCs, the EHC research contractors and grantees, and other synthesis organizations, new scientific evidence has been made available, and the program will continue to address knowledge gaps that are essential to improving the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of health care delivered through Medicaid, Medicare and the SCHIP programs.  AHRQ's goal is to have the Decision Sciences Center become the public face of this program.  The center has and will continue to perform this function by being responsible for making scientific findings from EPC reports, the EHC research contractors and grantees reports, and other inputs accessible to multiple audiences through guides for decision makers, through maintaining the EHC Web site in a manner that allows easy access of materials, and through working with partners to help disseminate program findings of the program.

In consultation with relevant stakeholders, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) undertook a priority setting process for identifying important topics to initially address the MMA Section 1013 legislation.  Recommendations for research made by stakeholders were reviewed and prioritized by a steering committee composed of representatives from several components of DHHS.  The Department has published a priority list of ten conditions under which research and related activities will be initially undertaken.  The ten conditions are:  arthritis and non-traumatic joint disorders; cancer; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/asthma; dementia, including Alzheimer's disease; depression and other mood disorders; diabetes mellitus; ischemic heart disease; peptic ulcer/dyspepsia; pneumonia; and stroke, including control of hypertension.  It is anticipated that this list of priority conditions will be reviewed annually and updated according to programmatic needs, resources, and stakeholder input.

The topics nominated within the priority conditions are considered for evaluation within AHRQ's Effective Health Care (EHC) Program and developed to address the mandate of the MMA Section 1013 legislation.  This program includes activities from the EPC Program to conduct research syntheses; the DEcIDE Program to conduct new, rapid turnaround research, the CERTs program to conduct research, education, and dissemination activities in therapeutics; and the Decision Sciences Center to translate and disseminate EHC Program findings.

In 2005, the first Decision Sciences Center contract was awarded to the Oregon Health and Sciences University.  Under this award, the Decision Sciences Center has developed a process for translating key findings from EHC publications into targeted translation products aimed at consumer and patient, provider, and policy audiences.  The Decision Sciences Center also maintains the EHC Program Web site and e-mail distribution lists which provide public notification of EHC activities.  The Web site and examples of Decision Sciences Center translation products can be seen at effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov.

Scientific evidence produced by the EPCs, and other synthesis organizations as well as AHRQ's EHC research programs will have multiple consumers including patients, providers, health care systems, provider societies, health plans, public and private purchasers, States, and others.  In this recompetition for the Decision Sciences Center, the Center will continue to work closely with the Scientific Resource Center, the EPCs, the EHC research contractors and grantees, and other relevant components of AHRQ.  The Center will also establish partnerships with various organizations (e.g., professional societies and patient groups) and conduct educational outreach activities to support dissemination of AHRQ products to the public.  Evidence related to the effectiveness or appropriateness of specific health care items or services will be translated by the Decision Sciences Center into targeted products and used to inform decisions of this diverse group of consumers.  Acknowledging that information alone does not necessarily result in quality decisions, the Decision Sciences Center will initiate activities that will communicate the various factors such as ascertainment and weighing of individual preferences for different outcomes of varying probability that influence individual decision making and can be incorporated into decision aids.  Developed decision aids will, at a minimum, include: evidence-based information, values clarification methods, and guidance or coaching in communicating values and personal preferences (O'Connor, et al, 2004).

  1. Objectives

The purpose of this contract is to continue the establishment of and to expand the scope of a research and translation decision science and communication center that will facilitate access to and use of evidence-based clinical and health care delivery information, and foster informed health care decisions by patients, providers, and policy makers.  In support of MMA Section 1013 statutory mandates, the Decision Sciences Center, in close collaboration with the Agency's Office of Communication and Knowledge Transfer, will serve as the primary vehicle for making the evidence generated by the EPCs, other synthesis organizations, and the EHC research contractors and grantees both accessible and understandable.  It is anticipated that the Decision Sciences Center will also assist in translation of additional and related AHRQ supported research to increase the usability and implementation of these findings.  In this recompetition, we intend to build upon the success of the current Decision Sciences Center activities, and broaden the scope of activities to add increased capabilities for outreach and dissemination, and increased capabilities that foster research in the fields of decision and communication sciences aimed at improving the quality and impact of translation products in addition to advancing knowledge in these fields.  We have identified three main functions of the Decision Sciences Center to be fulfilled for this contract—Production, Dissemination and Implementation, and Research.  Each of the inter-related functions is integral to the successful implementation of the contract, however, the production and dissemination functions are priority areas and the proposer should expect to direct a minimum of 85% of their resources on these functions.

  1. Production.  The purpose of this function is for Decision Sciences Center to become the public face of the Effective Health Care Program.  As such, it is expected that the work of the Center will be highly visible, timely and of the highest quality.  This work includes development of high-quality translation and dissemination products aimed at helping multiple audiences distill and interpret evidence syntheses and research findings and to improve their decision making based upon key information in these EHC reports.  AHRQ anticipates 20 Comparative Effectiveness Review (CER) reports per year will be translated into products for various audiences in addition to participation in periodic activities to disseminate new research findings.  These products must be developed in a timely fashion while maintaining scientific rigor and usefulness to the intended audiences.  The production function would also include maintaining the EHC website as a user friendly and user responsive repository for EHC materials, Decision Science Center products, and other relevant materials aimed at helping consumers use evidence to make informed decisions about health care.  The expanding scope of the program, the flow of new topics, the need to maximize outreach to increase awareness of program activities, and the need to be responsive to stakeholders in a timely fashion will require a Decision Sciences Center that is flexible, responsive, and able to efficiently handle multiple concurrent tasks in a variety of areas.  It is essential for offerors to address these abilities within their proposals.
  2. Dissemination and Implementation.  In addition to ensuring that the Decision Science Center products are aimed at helping all decision makers, including consumers, to understand EHC research and synthesis products, the contractor will work with AHRQ to disseminate these products.  This includes submitting a preliminary dissemination and implementation plan that will facilitate discussion with AHRQ personnel aimed at developing an optimal set of dissemination and implementation activities.  These activities will include working with stakeholders to understand their needs, both for content of EHC products and for how the key messages are translated into useful materials.  This function will also include working with these stakeholders and other potential partners to disseminate the finished translation products widely.  The Center will also be expected to increase the visibility of the Center and the EHC Program through partnerships, presenting at relevant consumer oriented and professional meetings, by increasing the usefulness and impact of the Web site, and by sponsoring symposia aimed at various audiences to discuss specific translation products and/or research and education on shared decision making in health care.
  3. Research.  It is our expectation that the Decision Science Center will be able to apply state of the art research in decision science, communication science, and other relevant fields to all of its work to ensure high impact of the Decision Science Center products on informed decision making for multiple audiences.  The Center should be able to document the science behind their work, and be able to make the findings of this research accessible to others so that lessons learned by the Center could be applied more generally.

Obviously, there are large areas of overlap between these functions, but the diverse needs of this contract require expertise in a wide range of areas.  To the extent possible, we expect that the various activities will feed back on each other, e.g. that the research questions to be studied as part of the research function will address problems encountered in the development of translation products.  Our expectation will be that the proposed contractor will demonstrate the ability to assemble a multi-disciplinary team and to demonstrate their expertise in managing a working group with many diverse fields and activities.  While not mandatory, AHRQ believes this Center may benefit from a collaboration across organizations that may be able to contribute to the multiple functions of this center.  An example of this would be between a contractor with broad experience in health services research, and specific expertise in health services communications, product development, and outreach; supplemented by an academic medical center or similar organization or cadre of specialists with expertise in clinical and decision science research.

To better understand the context of this solicitation, it is recommended that offerors consult the EHC website (see effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov ) and descriptions of the issues and definitions contained in the MMA Section 1013 legislation (see http://www.medicare.gov/MedicareReform/108s1013.pdf).

  1. Specific Requirements

Products and activities stemming from the Decision Sciences Center contract are intended to help policy makers, providers and patients make informed and evidence-based decisions on various health care items and services.  Given the breadth of contract tasks, offerors are expected to assemble a multi-disciplinary core team with expertise in the fields of

  1. health services research,
  2. clinical health education,
  3. behavioral medicine,
  4. decision psychology,
  5. communications science and marketing,
  6. qualitative research, including the use of focus groups and cognitive interviews,
  7. medical writing, graphic design and production,
  8. a wide range of health care content and clinical specialty expertise should be readily available to the offerors, and some members with health care and clinical specialty expertise should be included in the core team,
  9. Web site programming and development, including requisite hardware and software expertise to support the EHC website.

Familiarity with the SCHIP, Medicare and Medicaid programs and their beneficiaries should be addressed in the proposal since they are the intended primary focus of the MMA 1013 mandate.  Previous experience with the following activities should also be addressed in the proposal:

  1. Developing information tools for a diverse audience.  Specific experiences with patients, low literacy populations, providers, or policymakers should be emphasized.
  2. Developing decision aids consisting of three key elements: information, values clarification exercises, and guidance/coaching.
  3. Developing relationships with partners for information dissemination, outreach and implementation.
  4. Maintaining Web pages within the AHRQ Web site.

The tasks to be completed by the Decision Sciences Center are outlined below:

Contract Management

Task 1  Participate in an orientation meeting to discuss center goals and tasks

Subtask 1.1  Meet with AHRQ staff within 5 days of the effective date of the contract (EDOC) to discuss the goals, objectives and assigned tasks.  The "kick-off" meeting will include representatives of various AHRQ programs and AHRQ's Office of Communication and Knowledge Transfer. The discussion will also include how the center will interface and coordinate with the other AHRQ partners (Scientific Resource Center, EPCs, AHRQ EHC research contracts and grantees, and other synthesis organizations) and AHRQ components in accomplishing all tasks under the three major programmatic components stipulated in the RFC.  A schedule for periodic meetings (via regular conference calls or in-person meetings) shall be established to ensure the successful completion of this requirement.

Subtask 1.2   The contractor shall prepare a meeting agenda that will facilitate discussions of the project tasks in detail to ensure a full understanding of the work envisioned under this contract and the required resources.

Subtask 1.3  Within a week of the orientation meeting, the contractor will hold a transition meeting with AHRQ personnel determined by the Project Officer, and personnel from the first Decision Science Center to discuss current activities within the Center such as partnerships and products in production, and current status and plans for the EHC website and e-mail distribution lists.  The goal of this meeting will be to develop plans for an orderly transition of Center activities to the contractor.

Subtask 1.4  Within 2 weeks of the transition meeting, develop a comprehensive work plan, to include a Gantt chart that outlines key activities.  The plan should address the specific tasks outlined in the RFP and incorporate those areas addressed during the meeting.  An explicit plan for transition from the prior contractor to the current contractor shall be included in this work plan to minimize disruptions in the public dissemination and production functions.  The work plan shall also address mechanisms for frequent (at least monthly) scheduled communications with the Scientific Resource Center, AHRQ EHC research contractors and grantees, the Office of Communication and Knowledge Transfer, and the Project Officer. The work plan shall be updated on an annual basis, or at mutual agreement between AHRQ and the contractor.

Subtask 1.5  In consultation with the AHRQ Project Officer and relevant AHRQ personnel, develop an application for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) clearance for data collection activities that will be performed within the Decision Sciences Center.  Further detail about the necessary clearances for information collection under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 can be found at http://www.hhs.gov/ocio/policy/collection/index.html

Task 2  Develop and implement an evaluation plan

Subtask 2.1  Develop an evaluation plan to measure the impact of the various translation products (e.g., information and decision aids) on the target audiences.  The evaluation will include process measures (e.g., number of products requested from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse or downloaded) but extend to intermediate measures (e.g., was there a change in knowledge or attitudes, was the product useful in the decision making process) deemed relevant to this project.  The Project Officer will coordinate access of this information with the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse Project Officer. The plan should also allow for exploration into the effectiveness of the different dissemination modes.  Information collected during the evaluation will be used to inform the development of future products. 

The Project Officer will review the draft plan, which should include evaluation activities and implementation dates, and provide comment.

Subtask 2.2  The final evaluation plan shall be submitted to AHRQ 1 month following receipt of AHRQ comments on the draft plan.  Upon AHRQ approval, the evaluation shall be implemented per the plan.

Task 3  Report on contract progress

Subtask 3.1  The contractor will participate in weekly conference calls with the Project Officer and relevant AHRQ personnel at the discretion of the Project Officer.  These calls will facilitate the Center's ability to discuss task related progress, any barriers or problems, future tasks and plans, and any administrative issues relevant to the routine performance of duties.  The goal of this call is to facilitate regular communication between AHRQ and the Center about the Center's operations.  The Center will be expected to provide a preliminary call agenda one working day in advance of the call, and a summary of call highlights and action items 2 days after the call.

Subtask 3.2  Submit monthly reports to AHRQ detailing contractor progress on key activities for the previous month.  The report should include activities performed within each task; barriers or problems encountered in performance of tasks and how they were handled; labor hours expended and an estimate of costs; and any issues of which AHRQ should be aware.  The progress reports do not preclude the contractor from contacting AHRQ regarding any issue that may have a negative impact on the project.

Subtask 3.3  Submit quarterly reports to AHRQ.  The progress report shall include a description of project accomplishments for the previous quarter and activities planned for the upcoming quarter.  Any changes in the delivery schedule should also be addressed.  Reporting requirements may change over the course of the contract.

Task 3.4  Participate in monthly management meetings which will include staff from the Scientific Resource Center, the EPCs and other synthesis contractors, the AHRQ EHC research contractors and grantees, the Project Officer, and staff from AHRQ's Office of Communication and Knowledge Transfer. The meetings do not need to be in-person and can utilize teleconferencing and video conferencing as appropriate.

Health Care Intervention Information Service Program

Task 4  Develop a health care intervention information service program in partnership with evidence review and synthesis contractors (e.g., the EPCs), AHRQ EHC Program research contractors and grantees (e.g., DEcIDE Network, CERTs) and the Scientific Resource Center.

Subtask 4.1 The contractor shall establish an on-going working relationship with the Effective Health Care Scientific Resource Center, EPCs, and the AHRQ EHC research contractors and grantees to ensure awareness of the different topics in progress and the centers working on the assigned topics.  The contractor shall also inquire about timelines to ensure they are prepared to start the key message development and/or translation process at the earliest date.  The Project Officer will coordinate relationships with other AHRQ-funded projects to ensure that appropriate findings from these efforts are effectively included in the translation process.  This is intended to be an ongoing process to promote translation efforts that are proactive, informed, and inclusive of all relevant studies.  As directed by the AHRQ Project Officer electronic tools (for example, Project Management, Secure Web site, email, Calendar, Word Processing, etc) identified to standardize functions across the various components of the EHC Program will be adopted by the contractor.

Subtask 4.2  Representatives from the Decision Science Center will be expected to attend meetings (usually biennial) of the Evidence-Based Practice Centers and DEcIDE Research Centers, and the quarterly Effective Health Care Program Stakeholder Group meetings.  Representatives will be expected to present their current work, participate in discussions, and seek input on their work based upon these discussions.  The Decision Sciences Center will also be expected to participate in monthly EPC calls and other calls scheduled by research contractors and grantees (DEcIDE Network, CERTs) as necessary.

Task 5  Conduct assessment of information needs among target audiences

Subtask 5.1  Conduct an initial assessment of the various audiences (patients, providers, and policy makers) to inform future product development, dissemination, and implementation activities.  Issues such as literacy, numeracy, culture and ethnicity should be addressed, as appropriate.  Focus groups, key informant interviews and similar methods should be considered.  Specific attention shall be placed on impediments to understanding and using complex scientific findings and measures of benefit and harm. 

Other entities within the EHC Program, such as the SRC, may also be communicating with the same target audiences, and therefore, assessment plans should be coordinated with other EHC activities to create a coordinated and collaborative approach to target audiences.

Subtask 5.2 Provide the results of the assessment to AHRQ in report and PowerPoint format.  The report should highlight identified needs and issues/barriers for each audience, and recommend potential products that complement existing translation and dissemination products.  The Contractor shall meet by teleconference or in person with AHRQ staff to discuss the results.

Subtask 5.3 Update the assessment as needed and in consultation with the Project Officer and AHRQ staff.

Task 6  Review comparative effectiveness reviews (CERs) and selected AHRQ EHC research reports to identify key messages in consultation with EPC and other research contractors and grantees (DEcIDE Network, CERTs, etc.)

Subtask 6.1  For all effectiveness reviews, and for select research reports, Decision Sciences Center representatives will participate actively in the "kick-off" organizational calls of projects resulting in EHC reports.  The purpose of this participation is to ensure that the Decision Sciences Center is aware of the plans for the report and any relevant contextual information, and understands the rationale for developing the report.  The Center may also be required to participate in Technical Expert Panel/Group calls.  During the initial phases of the EPC or the AHRQ EHC research contractors and grantee projects, the Decision Sciences Center will be expected to obtain relevant contextual information (through literature review and key informant interviews as necessary) in order to develop preliminary, project-specific plan for relevant translation products.  This information will contain, at a minimum, framing information about the conditions and interventions of interest.  The goal of this work is to have completed as much background work as possible on the translation products before the draft report is received.  The drafted plan will be submitted to the Project Officer for review.

Subtask 6.2  Develop a process to verify the accuracy of messages and subsequent translation of the messages with the effectiveness review or research report authors and AHRQ.  The Contractor shall assume there will be 20 CERs produced in the first year of the contract and 25 CERs produced in the second year of the contract.  The contractor shall estimate 20-25 CERs for each option year.  Selected EHC research reports produced by the DEcIDE Network, CERTs, etc., may also be translated or highlighted and disseminated to targeted audiences and stakeholders.  The contractor will be expected to review the list of upcoming reports, and propose 5 research reports in the first year for dissemination, subject to review by the Project Officer and AHRQ EHC program staff.  In following years 5-10 research reports will be expected to be disseminated.

Subtask 6.3  The contractor shall assign the review of each electronically transmitted CER or research report to a content expert.  CERs and research reports shall be carefully reviewed to ensure a full understanding of the content and to provide contextual background for the review findings in the development of subsequent products.  The contractor shall work with the Project Officer to identify other related AHRQ-supported research.

Subtask 6.4  Identify the key messages within the effectiveness reviews or research reports.  The contractor shall work closely with the AHRQ Task Order Officers, the Scientific Resource Center, and individual EPCs and the AHRQ EHC research contractors and grantees to ensure the key messages are accurate. The messages will serve as the foundation for the development of products; therefore the contractor should start thinking about how the message will be framed for each audience as early in the development of the study as possible.  The contractor shall forward key messages, along with a list of recommended audiences for whom translation products are appropriate, to the Project Officer and Task Order Officer for review and approval.  The key messages shall be stated for each audience (consumer/patient, provider, policymaker, and others such as researchers) for which products will be developed.  Audiences could include the elderly, employer groups, low literacy and numeracy populations, and/or non English speaking populations.

The contractor shall provide an explanation when products will not be developed for the key audiences (consumer/patient, provider, policymaker).

Task 7  Develop criteria for information products and a process to ensure quality standards of developed products

Subtask 7.1  Currently, no gold standard has been established for developing health information products; there are, however, extant tools which aid consumers and providers in their evaluation of information presented in print and on the internet.  The Center will survey current tools, including previous EHC translation products, and develop criteria that will facilitate developing and assessing translation products.  The Center will also consider current research in the area, and ongoing evaluation efforts such as the International Patient Decision Aid Standards (IPDAS) Collaboration.  The criteria developed by the Center are expected to inform the development of future translation products and will be summarized in a report for AHRQ.  The Project Officer will coordinate internal AHRQ review of the criteria and the contractor shall identify at least 5 individuals (with expertise in translating complex information for various audiences) to serve as external reviewers of the draft criteria.  The contractor shall revise the criteria based on the comments received. The contractor should use the established criteria as a checklist for all developed products to ensure a minimum level of quality.  Assessment criteria should be updated as needed.

Subtask 7.2  In addition to the development criteria, the Center shall develop a detailed protocol for development of the translation products.  The protocol should detail the processes that the Center uses to develop the product.  This would be analogous to a methods section of a research report, and should denote any routine processes such as literature review, expert interviewing, focus groups or cognitive interviewing, etc.  The protocol will be submitted to the Project Officer for AHRQ internal review.  If the standard protocol for translation product development is modified over time, the Center shall submit updates to the protocol for review and approval.

Task 8  Develop health care information products from CERs and research reports for patients, providers, and policymakers

One of the major functions of the Decision Sciences Center will be the production of the health care information products translated from the evidence reviews and selected research reports.  As noted, it is expected that the products will convey the key messages of the reports, but will also reflect the state of the science of shared decision making and communications to make the products as effective as possible in conveying information relevant for decision making.  It is also vital that the products are produced in a timely fashion.  Ideally, the translation products should be ready for release when the final research reports or evidence reviews are released.  At a minimum, the expectation should be that at least 20 sets of products (i.e. consumer, provider, and policy maker guides as appropriate for an individual report) will be produced per year, and that these products should be as timely as possible.  The proposer shall allocate sufficient resources to meet the expected production schedule.

Subtask 8.1  Draft an information product for each audience as appropriate (patient, provider, policy maker) on assigned topics that is based on previously approved key messages (see Subtask 6.4).  Previously identified audience needs and the various factors that impact health decisions shall be considered during the development phase.  To facilitate reader comprehension, product content will be concise and use plain language.  AHRQ requires use of the Government Printing Office format and will provide specific direction regarding use of color, font, and presentation so the products are in conformance with DHHS policies and regulations.  AHRQ will provide publication numbers and disseminate via the AHRQ Publication Clearinghouse and Web site.

An information product will not necessarily be developed for each CER or each audience. 

Note: For proposal purposes, estimate 20 sets of information products will be developed in Year 1 and 20-25 sets of information products in Year 2 and 20-25 sets in each option year.

Subtask 8.2  Identify a small pool of individuals who are willing and able to review products for scientific accuracy within an abbreviated timeframe. The Project Officer will facilitate review by AHRQ's Office of Communication and Knowledge Transfer and other AHRQ components.  The draft document will be disseminated, in near final form, for review and comment to AHRQ and identified outside reviewers.  The document will be modified per reviewer comments, as appropriate.  

Subtask 8.3  The information product shall be pre-tested with representatives from each key audience.  At a minimum the contractor shall attempt to assess audience comprehension, ratings of acceptability and appropriateness, and ability to implement in his/her respective setting.  Audience feedback will be incorporated into the final product, as appropriate.

OMB approval must be obtained prior to any testing or focus group activities.

Subtask 8.4  The final information product shall be submitted in "camera-ready" form to the AHRQ Project Officer in print and in an electronic file.  The electronic file shall be forwarded to the Office of Communication and Knowledge Transfer.

Subtask 8.5  The contractor shall submit a detailed protocol on the development of the specific products.  The Center may reference the relevant protocols, and explain any deviations or modifications.  It is expected that any specific interview guides, summary of interview findings, etc. used in the development of the products will be submitted as an appendix to the protocol.

Task 9  Develop a health care glossary for the general public, including patients, providers and policy makers.

Subtask 9.1  Review the current health care glossary which is comprised of terms and phrases commonly used in the medical research literature and in health discussions, that could be cognitively misunderstood by consumers, providers and policymakers.  The contractor shall submit a brief plan that describes a process for updating the glossary.

Subtask 9.2  Update the current glossary as appropriate to capture new terms and phrases used in the EHC Program and other relevant sources.  The contractor shall submit a draft copy of all terms and phrases to be added to the glossary to the Project Officer for review and comment, as well as any other proposed changes. 

Subtask 9.3  Develop a process to make the terms and phrases identified in Subtask 9.2 understandable and meaningful to the reader.  In addition to the definitions, the contractor shall consider ways to provide context for a more comprehensive and meaningful understanding. 

Subtask 9.4  The contractor shall submit a final copy of all terms and phrases to be added to the glossary to the Project Officer for review and approval before it is posted on the EHC Web site.  The Web-based version of the glossary should be linked to EHC information products (see Task 8) as appropriate.  After the content of the guide stabilizes the contractor shall work with the Project Officer and other AHRQ staff to prepare the guide for printing.

Task 10  Develop a User's Guide of Evidence-based Health Care for Decision Makers

Subtask 10.1  The Decision Sciences Center shall develop a user's guide for the general public that helps them incorporate evidence into their health care decision making.  The guide will help users understand and apply medical evidence, whether from the EHC Program or other sources, within the context of decisions that they need to make.  This guide could include issues such as: 1) understanding what "evidence" means and a discussion of evidence-based medicine; 2) how to apply evidence to decisions; 3) understanding strength of evidence, and why evidence from different sources might reach conflicting conclusions; and 4)  how to get additional information or support while making a decision about health care.  The guide should be understandable by the general public, and should employ strategies such as examples and graphics to further simplify the information.  These topics are not exhaustive and it is expected that the Center will employ a multi-step process in collaboration with and under the review of AHRQ staff.

Subtask 10.1.1  Survey the current literature, relevant consumer organizations, professional organizations, and other groups to evaluate current activities aimed at facilitating consumer use of health care evidence in their decision making.  From this survey, the Center will identify common themes among these activities, and identify advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to developing a user's guide for decision makers.  From this survey, the Center shall develop a report that details the results of their survey and analysis, and a proposal incorporating this information into a plan for development and implementation of a user's guide.  It is expected that the Center will include experts in shared decision making, evidence-based medicine, and communications in the development of the survey and proposal.  If necessary, expertise could be supplemented by key informant interviews of experts for areas where published research and internal expertise is insufficient.  The draft proposal will be submitted to AHRQ for review.

Subtask 10.1.2  Upon approval of the proposal, the Center will develop and submit for approval a detailed protocol for development of the guide for decision makers, including specific procedures for any planned focus groups or cognitive interviews, interview guides, surveys, or other development materials.  An outline of the key sections of the guide should be included.

OMB approval must be obtained prior to any testing, interviewing, or survey activities

Subtask 10.2  The contractor shall submit a draft copy of the guide to the Project Officer for review and comment.

Subtask 10.3  The contractor shall submit the report for external peer review and comment.  Reviewer comments shall be shared with the Project Officer.

Subtask 10.4  The contractor shall submit a final copy of the guide to the Project Officer for review and approval before it is posted on the EHC Web site. 

Subtask 10.5  Post the guide on the EHC website.  Upon completion of development, the Center will submit any further developmental materials such as summaries of interview findings and reviewer comments.  The guide shall be updated as necessary and linked to information development products (see Task 8) as appropriate.

Task 11  Work in collaboration with AHRQ's Office of Communication and Knowledge Transfer on the dissemination and implementation of developed products

In keeping with the Agency's efforts to translate the results of AHRQ-funded research into practice and policy, grantees and/or contractors are to inform the Office of Communications and Knowledge Transfer (OCKT) when articles from their studies are accepted for publication in the professional literature.  Grantees and contractors should also discuss any ideas about other dissemination and marketing efforts with OCKT staff.  The goal is to ensure that efforts to disseminate research findings are coordinated with other Agency activities to maximize awareness and application of the research by potential users, including clinicians, patients, health care systems and purchasers and policymakers.  This is critical when outreach to the general and trade press is involved.  Contact with the media will take place in close coordination with OCKT and the press offices of the grantee's or contractor's institutions.  In cases when products are created (such as annual or final reports, Web-based tools, CD-ROMs), grantees and contractors will be asked to submit to OCKT a brief plan describing the product development process and how the product will be publicized.  An OCKT staff person will be assigned to each product and will coordinate the implementation of the plan, especially issues related to printing and electronic dissemination, and outreach to the media.

Subtask 11.1  Working in partnership with the Effective Health Care Scientific Resource Center, public and private sector intermediaries, AHRQ's Office of Communication and Knowledge Transfer and the Project Officer, develop a dissemination and implementation plan for products developed under this contract.  The plan should reflect an attempt to increase accessibility of all products to targeted audiences and the public.  The plan shall also emphasize leveraging intermediate distribution through public and private sector entities. For example, the contractor could identify and establish partnerships with relevant groups (e.g., electronic clinical decision support vendors, consumer organizations, professional associations, or State agencies) that would in turn disseminate the products. 

The appropriate medium for the different products shall also be addressed in the plan.  The contractor must be proactive and creative to ensure wide dissemination and use of all products.  The proposed dissemination and implementation plan will be developed collaboratively with AHRQ and modified as needed, though the contractor shall assume the responsibility for implementing the plan. 

The Contractor shall participate in a number of outreach activities in public venues (e.g., professional society meetings, health plan meetings, P&T meetings, consumer group meetings, business group meetings) to increase awareness of the Effective Health Care Program, the Decision Science Center, and specific EHC products such as evidence reviews, research reports, or Center translation products.  The outreach activities should use existing venues such as presenting a workshop at relevant professional society meetings, or presenting a symposium on health care decision making (generally or in regard to a specific product) to a consumer advocacy organization meeting.  Additionally, the Center may propose to host its own outreach activity, such as a symposium or workshop for the public, patients, providers, or policy makers.  Through these outreach activities, the visibility of Decision Science Center and EHC activities will be increased.  The Contractor shall plan on at least 4 activities per year; more could be proposed subject to AHRQ review.

AHRQ will assume production responsibility for paper-based products, while the Decision Sciences Center will assume responsibility for all other dissemination mediums.  Thus, close communication and collaboration with AHRQ's Office of Communication and Knowledge Transfer (OCKT) is critically important.  OCKT also houses AHRQ's public relations operations and will be instrumental in publicizing these activities and contributing, reviewing and assessing the dissemination and implementation plan.  The Project Officer will facilitate on-going consultation with OCKT and other components of AHRQ.

Subtask 11.2 In collaboration with OCKT, implement the dissemination and implementation plan.  The Project Officer will facilitate coordination with the appropriate units within OCKT to implement the plan in an orderly, synchronized manner.

Health Care Intervention Decision Science Research Program

Task 12  Organize a White Paper series on Decisions and Communications Sciences

There are two overarching goals to this activity.   The first goal is to make the state-of-the-art in the decision and communications sciences accessible for those interested in evidence-based translation of health care information for decision makers, through activities such as highlighting new knowledge, identifying research gaps, and addressing at least some of the gaps identified.  In addition to highlighting the science, it is expected that the lessons learned in the creation of the white paper series will contribute to the process of producing Decision Science Center products.  The themes of a particular series of papers could be broad, such as how to create balanced presentations of benefits and harms, or more narrow, such as best practices for web presentations in the elderly; however, AHRQ's approach to evaluating proposals for topics will be based upon whether the series would help to advance the state of the sciences and whether they could contribute to improving the Center's products.  (Estimate 3-5 white papers per year including option years)

Subtask 12.1  Conduct a scan of the literature and speak to experts to assess the state of the art in health behavior and informed health care decision making.  Identify knowledge gaps, emerging areas, etc.

Subtask 12.2  Submit a draft plan for the white paper series to AHRQ for review and approval.  The plan should include a theme, potential topics, authors, and a timeline.  At a minimum, the timeline should include key milestones such as planning calls with authors, discussants, etc.; due dates for papers and when they will be forwarded to the discussants and AHRQ; and due date for final papers.

Subtask 12.3  Invite authors to write papers and meeting discussants to respond to papers.  Contractor shall convey the topic and give additional guidance to the author and discussants.   

Subtask  12.4  Identify and invite experts to a working meeting.  Potential attendees will be informed that they will be asked to review white papers and participate in a discussion intended to inform AHRQ activities.  Estimate no more than 25 experts and 7 Federal employees to attend the working group meetings to take place in the Washington DC Metro area.

Subtask 12.5  Contractor shall hold the meeting to discuss the papers.  The contractor shall be responsible for planning and conducting the meeting.  Specific activities will include: agenda preparation, discussion facilitation, meeting logistics (including meals, per diem and travel reimbursements), and a meeting summary.  At a minimum the summary shall capture the main discussion areas, describe the identified gaps, and recommend activities to address the gaps noted during the meeting.

Task 13  Conduct Health Care Decision Symposiums

The Center shall host two symposiums to increase the visibility and use of products developed by the EHC Program.  The Project Officer will coordinate these activities with other on-going AHRQ efforts to reach these audiences and to maximize synergy between these efforts. 

Subtask 13.1 Identify symposium topics.  The Contractor shall submit a list of topics, audiences, presenters, and potential venues for each symposium to AHRQ for review and approval.   The goal of the symposium is to reach the target audience(s) effectively while making the maximum use of intermediaries to reach the largest possible audience.

Subtask 13.2  Working with AHRQ staff, the contractor shall contact necessary parties to discuss plans for an AHRQ sponsored symposium at their location.  The contractor shall be responsible for completing and submitting any and all paperwork required by the event sponsor.  AHRQ staff will be contacted upon acceptance of the symposium and provided with event dates.

Subtask 13.3 Contact presenters and secure their participation at planned symposiums.   Contractor shall assist presenters with per diem and travel reimbursements.

Subtask 13.4   AHRQ's Office of Communication and Knowledge Transfer will work closely with the contractor on marketing the symposiums. 

Subtask 13.5 Contractor shall submit an activity report for each symposium.  The report should at a minimum provide symposium details, audience description, and symposium impact.

Task 14  Develop and disseminate a quarterly electronic newsletter

The goal of this task is to provide a platform from which to broadly disseminate recent EHC Program activities and to highlight research in decision or communication sciences that might have an impact on the science of translating evidence-based information for use by decision makers.  The primary audience will consist of individuals interested in comparative effectiveness and decision science research.   

Task 14.1 Contractor shall submit an overview of items proposed to be addressed in the newsletter to AHRQ for review and approval.  

Task 14.2  Following approval of the overview, the Contractor shall submit a draft copy of the newsletter to AHRQ for review. 

Task 14.3  Contractor shall submit the final newsletter to AHRQ for review.  Following AHRQ approval, the contractor shall post the newsletter on the EHC Web site on the agreed upon date.

Health Care Intervention Decision Tools Development Lab

Task 15  Develop a computerized interactive decision aid for selected ERs

The goal of the decision aid will be to translate a selected evidence review to help increase a consumer's knowledge and understanding of the evidence concerning alternatives for a health care decision.  Essentially the final decision aid is intended to facilitate informed decisions based on scientific evidence, and that the decision reflects individual values and preferences, and provides coaching or guidance.  It is our expectation that this decision aid will incorporate the state of the science of shared decision making, and take advantage of computer technology to provide an interactive platform that can be implemented on the EHC website.  A minimum of one decision aid will be produced each year.  As evidence reviews are updated, the contractor shall update decision aids to reflect any necessary changes.

Subtask 15.1   Conduct an assessment of existing decision aids and related literature to increase familiarity with what currently exists and what needs to be incorporated in future decision aids.  During this assessment the contractor shall also identify critical components of a targeted decision aid.  For instance, while the consumer may need assistance in making individual decisions, the provider might require assistance in helping the consumer make a decision that incorporates his/her values and preferences. 

Subtask 15.2  Review criteria from the first Decision Science Center for choosing topics for development of decision aids.  The contractor may adopt the criteria or modify them as necessary.  The final criteria shall be submitted to the AHRQ Project Officer for review and approval.

Subtask 15.3  Convene a working group to develop a specific approach that could be applied to decision aids developed by the Center.  While this group could develop a proposed method for decision aids within the context of a specific topic, the Center shall develop a generic protocol that can be used to expedite the development and maintenance of high quality decision aids produced by the center. Invited experts will be asked to participate in discussions regarding development strategies and other relevant topics.  Estimate 1-2 working group meetings in the Washington DC Metro area and 3-4 teleconferences per year (including option years).   Estimate 5-10 attendees per meeting.

Subtask 15.4  Review recent and upcoming EHC evidence reviews.  Using criteria established in Subtask 15.2 and in collaboration with the AHRQ Project Officer and relevant AHRQ staff, choose a topic or topics for which to develop a decision aid.  The Center will submit a proposal to the Project Officer for review.  This proposal should highlight: 1) the importance of the decision aid for consumer decision making; 2) the content and methodologic experts who will be working on the decision aid; 3) a general overview of the proposed decision aid (e.g. major categories of information provided, type of value clarification exercises, etc.); 4)  data sources for the decision aid, particularly those required outside of the ER; 5) mechanism for assuring that the decision aid will conform to IPDAS standards; 6) proposed evaluation of the decision aid; and 7) estimated timeline and budget.

Subtask 15.5  Develop an algorithm for a decision aid for selected ERs.  This algorithm should at a minimum highlight the information to be conveyed in the decision aid, any specific tailoring of information necessary, any preference elicitation or values clarification activities, and any guidance or concrete actions to be recommended by the decision aids.  The contractor shall submit the algorithm to the Project Officer in paper and electronic forms for review and approval.  A generic protocol for development of decision aids should be developed either prior to or in conjunction with the protocol for the selected ER.

Subtask 15.6  Develop the decision aid and place the aid on the EHC website.

Task 16  Assume Web-page Deployment Responsibilities for MMA Program Activities

AHRQ MMA activities will be made available via the AHRQ Web site using sub-ordinate URLs supplied by AHRQ.  The development and maintenance of the Web site and access to MMA related activities will be performed by the Contractor.

Subtask 16.1  Migrate the MMA Web site activities from the first Decision Science Center contractor to the current Center.  Proposers are encouraged to review the current website (effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov ) to evaluate needs.  The Contractor shall coordinate with relevant AHRQ staff and staff from the first Decision Science Center to develop a plan for transition of the site without interruption of Web site activities.  Upon transition, the Center will be responsible for maintaining and updating the site.  The Center will also need to coordinate with the Scientific Resource Center (SRC) to ensure SRC access to necessary data.  While the Center will post reviews, research reports, Center products, other documents, and post documents for public comment, the Center will be responsible for ensuring that the SRC has access to necessary materials, such as public comments in response to posted documents.  

The Web site will be used to:  1) post developed products in various formats (for vendors, patients, clinicians, and policy makers); 2) advertise events; 3) post white papers and decision aids; 4) serve as a dissemination mechanism; and 5) host e-mail distribution lists.  Additionally, the web content must be searchable.  The Web pages should have a "look and feel" that is similar to the main AHRQ Web site.  It is also essential that the Center have mechanisms to ensure coverage for support of the Web site in case of Web site error or other interruption of Web site service to end-users.

The offeror should consider the use of XML, RSS feeds, and other mechanisms to facilitate the uptake of information from the Web site.

Subtask 16.2  The Contractor shall maintain and update the existing web access for the EHC activities for each year (base period and all option years). The web access shall be versatile and expandable to accommodate varied needs of users while allowing for expansion and technological improvements as well as technical and information environment changes. The Contractor shall develop individual pages for each individual AHRQ project or program in consultation with the project officer.  The Contractor shall ensure that the Web site meets the Agency's requirements as follows:

  • Maintain its presence on the World Wide Web (WWW), and make it available to invited participants through unique Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) that are sub-ordinate to the AHRQ Home Page.   The URLs will be supplied and registered by AHRQ.
  • The Contractor-developed Web site shall have the capacity for information searches to locate information locally stored or remotely linked data and contain sections describing how the contents are maintained. The Web site also shall contain a direct link to a privacy statement approved by the Project Officer, and a search feature that supports both keyword searches and scrolling for information.
  • The Contractor shall provide support for Web production, provide all application hardware necessary to host the Web site and connect it to the Internet with sufficient bandwidth to meet project needs, and provide for a physical location to house the Web site. The Contractor shall plan for a load tolerance of at least 100 simultaneous users and support a minimum of 1,000 user sessions per day. The Contractor shall prepare a contingency plan in case traffic appears to be exceeding these estimates so that it will be able to reconstitute the hardware/software platform to tolerate the increased load within 60 calendar days of a noted need to expand capacity. (No costs shall be budgeted for the contingency plan in the offerer's proposal, and no costs for implementing the contingency plan shall be incurred by the Contractor unless approved in advance by the Contracting Officer.)
  • The Contractor shall provide mechanisms for 24 x 7 systems near-full time availability to ensure system uptime for user operations including updates. Any hardware or software failure shall not result in a loss of more than 27 hours of current data, any software failure shall not result in more than 72 hours of downtime, any hardware failure shall not result in more than 72 hours of downtime, and any Internet connectivity failure shall not result in more than 48 hours of downtime. The contractor shall test the backup/restore process at least monthly and report any failures to the Project Officer through the progress report.
  • The Contractor shall provide a system that maximizes security and data privacy (even in the event of a catastrophic failure). The Contractor shall use necessary and appropriate firewall mechanisms and/or other blocking devices. Any unauthorized access shall be immediately reported to the Project Officer as well as being included in the progress report. The Contractor shall comply with all Federal and DHHS security guidelines.
  • The contractor shall comply with all applicable provisions of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as it relates to all materials, information, tools, electronic and information technology, etc., placed on the EHC Web site (an overview of Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act compliance can be found at http://www.usability.gov/). The Section provides technical specifications and performance-based requirements, which focus on the functional capabilities of covered technologies. This dual approach recognizes the dynamic and continually evolving nature of the technology involved as well as the need for clear and specific standards to facilitate compliance. Certain provisions are designed to ensure compatibility with adaptive equipment people with disabilities commonly use for information and communication access, such as screen readers, Braille displays, and TTYs. A list of the standards can be accessed at http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/standards.htm, however a brief summary of the applicable standards has been provided below:

Subpart B – Technical Standards

Software Applications and Operating Systems (§ 1194.21)

Most of the specifications for software pertain to usability for people with vision impairments. For example, one provision requires alternative keyboard navigation, which is essential for people with vision impairments who cannot rely on pointing devices, such as a mouse. Other provisions address animated displays, color and contrast settings, flash rate, and electronic forms, among others.

Web-based Intranet and Internet Information and Applications (§ 1194.22)

The criteria for web-based technology and information are based on access guidelines developed by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium. Many of these provisions ensure access for people with vision impairments who rely on various assistive products to access computer-based information, such as screen readers, which translate what's on a computer screen into automated audible output, and refreshable Braille displays. Certain conventions, such as verbal tags or identification of graphics and format devices, like frames, are necessary so that these devices can "read" them for the user in a sensible way. The standards do not prohibit the use of web site graphics or animation. Instead, the standards aim to ensure that such information is also available in an accessible format. Generally, this means use of text labels or descriptors for graphics and certain format elements. (HTML code already provides an "Alt Text" tag for graphics which can serve as a verbal descriptor for graphics). This section also addresses the usability of multimedia presentations, image maps, style sheets, scripting languages, applets and plug-ins, and electronic forms.

The standards apply to Federal web sites but not to private sector web sites (unless a site is provided under contract to a Federal agency, in which case only that web site or portion covered by the contract would have to comply). Accessible sites offer significant advantages that go beyond access. For example, those with "text-only" options provide a faster downloading alternative and can facilitate transmission of web-based data to cell phones and personal digital assistants.

Video and multimedia products (§ 1194.24)

  1. All training and informational video and multimedia productions which support the agency's mission, regardless of format, that contain speech or other audio information necessary for the comprehension of the content, shall be open or closed captioned.
  2. All training and informational video and multimedia productions which support the agency's mission, regardless of format, that contain visual information necessary for the comprehension of the content, shall be audio described.
  3. Display or presentation of alternate text presentation or audio descriptions shall be user-selectable unless permanent.

Subpart C -- Functional Performance Criteria

Functional performance criteria (§ 1194.31)

  1. At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require user vision shall be provided, or support for assistive technology used by people who are blind or visually impaired shall be provided.
  2. At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require visual acuity greater than 20/70 shall be provided in audio and enlarged print output working together or independently, or support for assistive technology used by people who are visually impaired shall be provided.
  3. At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require user hearing shall be provided, or support for assistive technology used by people who are deaf or hard of hearing shall be provided.
  4. Where audio information is important for the use of a product, at least one mode of operation and information retrieval shall be provided in an enhanced auditory fashion, or support for assistive hearing devices shall be provided.
  5. At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require user speech shall be provided, or support for assistive technology used by people with disabilities shall be provided.
  6. At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require fine motor control or simultaneous actions and that is operable with limited reach and strength shall be provided.

Subpart D -- Information, Documentation, and Support

Information, documentation, and support (§ 1194.41)

  1. Product support documentation provided to end-users shall be made available in alternate formats upon request, at no additional charge.
  2. End-users shall have access to a description of the accessibility and compatibility features of products in alternate formats or alternate methods upon request, at no additional charge.
  3. Support services for products shall accommodate the communication needs of end-users with disabilities.

To ensure initial and continued compliance with Section 508 the contractor shall submit documentation that addresses how any product or service considered for purchasing conforms to the standards.  The contractor shall complete an accessibility template which can be accessed at The HHS Section 508 Product Accessibility Template - PAT.  Also the contractor shall submit an annual reporting of its compliance with Section 508 (guidance can be accessed at Section 508 Annual Report Template).

  • The Contractor shall not use persistent cookies.
  • The Contractor shall not require the provision of personal information to visit the Web site, and personal information shall not be automatically collected. Personal information may be collected to respond to a user's message or to fulfill the stated purpose of any communication by a user, or to obtain voluntary input, comment, or review.
  • The Contractor shall post the AHRQ and DHHS logo prominently on the Web site.

The Contractor may collect the name of the domain users to access the site, bandwidth, the type of browser and operating system the user utilized to access the site, the date and time of the user's visit, and the address of the Web site the user came from when referred by another site. COTS software shall be proposed to track and monitor Web site usage. Keywords entered into the search engine of the Web site may also be tracked.  COTS software shall be used for provision of database capabilities.

Subtask 16.3  Maintain Web-enabled versions of decision aids and related products that result from MMA related activities.

Subtask 16.4  The EHC Web site is one of the major strategic dissemination tools for the EHC program.  This site serves as a repository and clearinghouse for program products, educates consumers about health care decision making, allows stakeholders to provide input into the program both overall and on specific products, and through news and e-mail distribution list sign-up allows the public to be notified of new activities.  As a major public interface for the program, it is expected that the Center will give ongoing consideration as to how to maximize the potential of the site through optimizing the design, functionality, and outreach of the site.  The Center shall communicate regularly with the AHRQ Project Officer concerning site optimization, and should propose updates to the site as necessary.

If exercised, the following tasks are to be completed during Option Years 1 – 3:

Contract Management

Task 1  Participate in a meeting to discuss center goals and tasks

Subtask 1.1  Develop a comprehensive work plan, with a projected timeline.  The plan should address the specific tasks outlined in the RFC and incorporate those specific areas addressed throughout the second year of the contract.  Additionally, this plan should be informed by lessons learned in the first 2 years of the contract.  The work plan will also address mechanisms for frequent (at least monthly) scheduled communications with the resource center, DRCs, the Office of Communication and Knowledge Transfer, and the Project Officer. The work plan will be updated on an annual basis, or at mutual agreement between AHRQ and the contractor.

Task 2  Revise and implement the evaluation plan

Subtask 2.1  The contractor shall review the evaluation plan used during the first 2 years of the contract and revise as necessary.

Subtask 2.2  The revised evaluation plan shall be submitted to AHRQ for approval.  Upon approval, the plan shall be implemented.

Task 3  Report on contract progress

Subtask 3.1  The contractor will participate in weekly conference calls with the Project Officer and relevant AHRQ personnel at the discretion of the Project Officer.  These calls will facilitate the Center's ability to discuss task related progress, any barriers or problems, future tasks and plans, and any administrative issues relevant to the routine performance of duties.  The goal of this call is to facilitate regular communication between AHRQ and the Center about the Center's operations.  The Center will be expected to provide a preliminary call agenda one working day in advance of the call, and a summary of call highlights and action items 2 days after the call.

Subtask 3.2  Submit monthly reports to AHRQ detailing contractor progress on key activities for the previous month.  The report should include activities performed within each task; barriers or problems encountered in performance of tasks and how they were handled; labor hours expended and an estimate of costs; and any issues of which AHRQ should be aware.  The progress reports do not preclude the contractor from contacting AHRQ regarding any issue that may have a negative impact on the project.

Subtask 3.3  Submit quarterly reports to AHRQ.  The progress report shall include a description of project accomplishments for the previous quarter and activities planned for the upcoming quarter.  Any changes in the delivery schedule should also be addressed.  Reporting requirements may change over the course of the contract.

Subtask 3.4  Participate in monthly management meetings which will include staff from the Scientific Resource Center, the EPCs and other synthesis contractors, the AHRQ EHC research contractors and grantees, the Project Officer, and staff from AHRQ's Office of Communication and Knowledge Transfer. The meetings do not need to be in-person and can utilize teleconferencing and video conferencing as appropriate.

Health Care Intervention Information Service Program

Task 4  Maintain a health care intervention information service program in partnership with evidence review and synthesis contractors (e.g., the EPCs), AHRQ EHC Program research contractors and grantees (e.g., DEcIDE Network, CERTs) and the Scientific Resource Center.

Subtask 4.1 The contractor shall establish an on-going working relationship with the Effective Health Care Scientific Resource Center, EPCs, and the AHRQ EHC research contractors and grantees to ensure awareness of the different topics in progress and the centers working on the assigned topics.  The contractor shall also inquire about timelines to ensure they are prepared to start the key message development and/or translation process at the earliest date.  The Project Officer will coordinate relationships with other AHRQ-funded projects to ensure that appropriate findings from these efforts are effectively included in the translation process.  This is intended to be an ongoing process to promote translation efforts that are proactive, informed, and inclusive of all relevant studies.  As directed by the AHRQ Project Officer electronic tools (for example, Project Management, Secure Web site, email, Calendar, Word Processing, etc) identified to standardize functions across the various components of the EHC Program will be adopted by the contractor.

Subtask 4.2  Representatives from the Decision Science Center will be expected to attend meetings (usually biennial) of the Evidence-Based Practice Centers and DEcIDE Research Centers, and the quarterly Effective Health Care Program Stakeholder Group meetings.  Representatives will be expected to present their current work, participate in discussions, and seek input on their work based upon these discussions.  The Decision Sciences Center will also be expected to participate in monthly EPC calls and other calls scheduled by research contractors and grantees (DEcIDE Network, CERTs) as necessary.

Task 5  Update the information needs assessment among target audiences

Subtask 5.1 Update the audience assessment (developed during the first year of the contract) as needed and in consultation with the Project Officer and AHRQ staff.

Subtask 5.2 Provide the results of the updated assessment to AHRQ in report and PowerPoint format.  At a minimum, the report should highlight identified needs and issues/barriers for each audience, and recommend products.  The Contractor shall meet by teleconference or in person with AHRQ staff to discuss the results.

Task 6  Review comparative effectiveness reviews (CERs) and selected AHRQ EHC research reports to identify key messages in consultation with EPC and other research contractors and grantees (DEcIDE Network, CERTs, etc.)

Subtask 6.1  For all effectiveness reviews, and for select research reports, Decision Sciences Center representatives will participate actively in the "kick-off" organizational calls of projects resulting in EHC reports.  The purpose of this participation is to ensure that the Decision Sciences Center is aware of the plans for the report and any relevant contextual information, and understands the rationale for developing the report.  The Center may also be required to participate in Technical Expert Panel/Group calls.  During the initial phases of the EPC or the AHRQ EHC research contractors and grantee projects, the Decision Sciences Center will be expected to obtain relevant contextual information (through literature review and key informant interviews as necessary) in order to develop preliminary, project-specific plan for relevant translation products.  This information will contain, at a minimum, framing information about the conditions and interventions of interest.  The goal of this work is to have completed as much background work as possible on the translation products before the draft report is received.  The drafted plan will be submitted to the Project Officer for review.

Subtask 6.2  Develop a process to verify the accuracy of messages and subsequent translation of the messages with the effectiveness review or research report authors and AHRQ.  The contractor shall assume there will be 20-25 CERs for each option year.  Selected EHC research reports produced by the DEcIDE Network, CERTs, etc., may also be translated or highlighted and disseminated to targeted audiences and stakeholders.  The contractor will be expected to review the list of upcoming reports, and propose 5-10 research reports in the 3 option years for dissemination, subject to review by the Project Officer and AHRQ EHC program staff. 

Subtask 6.3  The contractor shall assign the review of each electronically transmitted CER or research report to a content expert.  CERs and research reports shall be carefully reviewed to ensure a full understanding of the content and to provide contextual background for the review findings in the development of subsequent products.  The contractor shall work with the Project Officer to identify other related AHRQ-supported research.

Subtask 6.4  Identify the key messages within the effectiveness reviews or research reports.  The contractor shall work closely with the AHRQ Task Order Officers, the Scientific Resource Center, and individual EPCs and the AHRQ EHC research contractors and grantees to ensure the key messages are accurate. The messages will serve as the foundation for the development of products; therefore the contractor should start thinking about how the message will be framed for each audience as early in the development of the study as possible.  The contractor shall forward key messages, along with a list of recommended audiences for whom translation products are appropriate, to the Project Officer and Task Order Officer for review and approval.  The key messages shall be stated for each audience (consumer/patient, provider, policymaker, and others such as researchers) for which products will be developed.  Audiences could include the elderly, employer groups, low literacy and numeracy populations, and/or non English speaking populations.

The contractor shall provide an explanation when products will not be developed for the key audiences (consumer/patient, provider, policymaker).

Task 7  Develop criteria for information products and ensure quality standards of developed products

Subtask 7.1  Update the development criteria (developed during the initial contract year) as needed.  The contractor should use the established criteria as a checklist for all developed products to ensure a minimum level of quality.

Subtask 7.2  Update the development protocol as needed and submit to the Project Officer for AHRQ review and internal review.  If the standard protocol for translation product development is modified over time, the Center shall submit updates to the protocol for review and approval.

Task 8  Develop health care information products from ERs for patients, providers, and policymakers

Subtask 8.1  Draft an information product for each audience as appropriate (patient, provider, policy maker) on assigned topics that is based on previously approved key messages (see Subtask 6.4).  Previously identified audience needs and the various factors that impact health decisions shall be considered during the development phase.  To facilitate reader comprehension, product content will be concise and use plain language.  AHRQ requires use of the Government Printing Office format and will provide specific direction regarding use of color, font, and presentation so the products are in conformance with DHHS policies and regulations.  AHRQ will provide publication numbers and disseminate via the AHRQ Publication Clearinghouse and Web site.

An information product will not necessarily be developed for each CER or each audience. 

Note: For proposal purposes, estimate 20-25 sets of information products in each option year.

Subtask 8.2  Identify a small pool of individuals who are willing and able to review products for scientific accuracy within an abbreviated timeframe. The Project Officer will facilitate review by AHRQ's Office of Communication and Knowledge Transfer and other AHRQ components.  The draft document will be disseminated, in near final form, for review and comment to AHRQ and identified outside reviewers.  The document will be modified per reviewer comments, as appropriate.  

Subtask 8.3  The information product shall be pre-tested with representatives from each key audience.  At a minimum the contractor shall attempt to assess audience comprehension, ratings of acceptability and appropriateness, and ability to implement in his/her respective setting.  Audience feedback will be incorporated into the final product, as appropriate.

OMB approval must be obtained prior to any testing or focus group activities.

Subtask 8.4  The final information product shall be submitted in "camera-ready" form to the AHRQ Project Officer in print and in an electronic file.  The electronic file shall be forwarded to the Office of Communication and Knowledge Transfer.

Subtask 8.5  The contractor shall submit a detailed protocol on the development of the specific products.  The Center may reference the relevant protocols, and explain any deviations or modifications.  It is expected that any specific interview guides, summary of interview findings, etc. used in the development of the products will be submitted as an appendix to the protocol.

Task 9  Update the health care glossary for the general public, including patients, providers and policy makers.

Subtask 9.1  Update the web-enabled health care glossary as appropriate to capture new terms and phrases used in the EHC Program and other relevant sources.  The contractor shall submit a draft copy of all terms and phrases to be added to the glossary to the Project Officer for review and comment, as well as any other proposed changes. 

Subtask 9.2  The contractor shall submit a final copy of all terms and phrases to be added to the glossary to the Project Officer for review and approval before it is posted on the EHC Web site.  The Web-based version of the glossary should be linked to EHC information products (see Task 8) as appropriate.  After the content of the guide stabilizes the contractor shall work with the Project Officer and other AHRQ staff to prepare the guide for printing.

Task 10  Maintain currency of the User's Guide of Evidence-based Health Care for Decision Makers

Subtask 10.1  The Center shall conduct an updated survey of the literature, relevant consumer organizations, professional organizations, and other groups to evaluate current activities aimed at facilitating consumer use of health care evidence in their decision making.  From this survey, the Center shall provide a report that describes the areas of the guide that warrant updating. 

Subtask 10.2  The Center shall update the User's Guide as appropriate and submit the final guide to the Project Officer for review and comment prior to posting on the EHC Web site.

Task 11  Work in collaboration with AHRQ's Office of Communication and Knowledge Transfer on the dissemination and implementation of developed products

Subtask 11.1  Working in partnership with the Effective Health Care Resource Center, public and private sector intermediaries, AHRQ's Office of Communication and Knowledge Transfer and the Project Officer, update the dissemination and implementation plan for products developed under this contract. 

Subtask 11.2  In collaboration with OCKT, implement the revised dissemination and implementation plan.  The Project Officer will facilitate coordination with the appropriate units within OCKT to implement the plan in an orderly, synchronized manner.

Health Care Intervention Decision Science Research Program

Task 12  Organize a White Paper series on Decisions and Communications Sciences

(Estimate 3-5 white papers per option year)

There are two overarching goals to this activity.   The first goal is to make the state-of-the-art in the decision and communications sciences accessible for those interested in evidence-based translation of health care information for decision makers, through activities such as highlighting new knowledge, identifying research gaps, and addressing at least some of the gaps identified.  In addition to highlighting the science, it is expected that the lessons learned in the creation of the white paper series will contribute to the process of producing Decision Science Center products.  The themes of a particular series of papers could be broad, such as how to create balanced presentations of benefits and harms, or more narrow, such as best practices for web presentations in the elderly; however, AHRQ's approach to evaluating proposals for topics will be based upon whether the series would help to advance the state of the sciences and whether they could contribute to improving the Center's products.  (Estimate 3-5 white papers per year including option years)

Subtask 12.1  Conduct a scan of the literature and speak to experts to assess the state of the art in health behavior and informed health care decision making.  Identify knowledge gaps, emerging areas, etc.

Subtask 12.2  Submit a draft plan for the white paper series to AHRQ for review and approval.  The plan should include a theme, potential topics, authors, and a timeline.  At a minimum, the timeline should include key milestones such as planning calls with authors, discussants, etc.; due dates for papers and when they will be forwarded to the discussants and AHRQ; and due date for final papers.

Subtask 12.3  Invite authors to write papers and meeting discussants to respond to papers.  Contractor shall convey the topic and give additional guidance to the author and discussants.   

Subtask 12.4  Identify and invite experts to a working meeting.  Potential attendees will be informed that they will be asked to review white papers and participate in a discussion intended to inform AHRQ activities.  Estimate no more than 25 experts and 7 Federal employees to attend the working group meetings to take place in the Washington DC Metro area.

Subtask 12.5  Contractor shall hold the meeting to discuss the papers.  The contractor shall be responsible for planning and conducting the meeting.  Specific activities will include: agenda preparation, discussion facilitation, meeting logistics (including meals, per diem and travel reimbursements), and a meeting summary.  At a minimum the summary shall capture the main discussion areas, describe the identified gaps, and recommend activities to address the gaps noted during the meeting.

Task 13  Conduct Health Care Decision Symposiums

The Center shall host two symposiums to increase the visibility and use of products developed by the EHC Program.  The Project Officer will coordinate these activities with other on-going AHRQ efforts to reach these audiences and to maximize synergy between these efforts. 

Subtask 13.1 Identify symposium topics.  The Contractor shall submit a list of topics, audiences, presenters, and potential venues for each symposium to AHRQ for review and approval.   The goal of the symposium is to reach the target audience(s) effectively while making the maximum use of intermediaries to reach the largest possible audience.

Subtask 13.2  Working with AHRQ staff, the contractor shall contact necessary parties to discuss plans for an AHRQ sponsored symposium at their location.  The contractor shall be responsible for completing and submitting any and all paperwork required by the event sponsor.  AHRQ staff will be contacted upon acceptance of the symposium and provided with event dates.

Subtask 13.3 Contact presenters and secure their participation at planned symposiums.   Contractor shall assist presenters with per diem and travel reimbursements.

Subtask 13.4   AHRQ's Office of Communication and Knowledge Transfer will work closely with the contractor on marketing the symposiums. 

Subtask 13.5 Contractor shall submit an activity report for each symposium.  The report should at a minimum provide symposium details, audience description, and symposium impact.

Task 14  Develop and disseminate a quarterly electronic newsletter

The goal of this task is to provide a platform from which to broadly disseminate recent EHC Program activities and to highlight research in decision or communication sciences that might have an impact on the science of translating evidence-based information for use by decision makers.  The primary audience will consist of individuals interested in comparative effectiveness and decision science research.   

Task 14.1 Contractor shall submit an overview of items proposed to be addressed in the newsletter to AHRQ for review and approval.  

Task 14.2  Following approval of the overview, the Contractor shall submit a draft copy of the newsletter to AHRQ for review. 

Task 14.3  Contractor shall submit the final newsletter to AHRQ for review.  Following AHRQ approval, the contractor shall post the newsletter on the EHC Web site on the agreed upon date.

Health Care Intervention Decision Tools Development Lab

Task 15  Develop a computerized interactive decision aid for selected ERs

The goal of the decision aid will be to translate a selected evidence review to help increase a consumer's knowledge and understanding of the evidence concerning alternatives for a health care decision.  Essentially the final decision aid is intended to facilitate informed decisions based on scientific evidence, and that the decision reflects individual values and preferences, and provides coaching or guidance.  It is our expectation that this decision aid will incorporate the state of the science of shared decision making, and take advantage of computer technology to provide an interactive platform that can be implemented on the EHC website.  A minimum of one decision aid will be produced each year.  As evidence reviews are updated, the contractor shall update decision aids to reflect any necessary changes.

Subtask 15.1   Conduct an assessment of existing decision aids and related literature to increase familiarity with what currently exists and what needs to be incorporated in future decision aids.  During this assessment the contractor shall also identify critical components of a targeted decision aid.  For instance, while the consumer may need assistance in making individual decisions, the provider might require assistance in helping the consumer make a decision that incorporates his/her values and preferences. 

Subtask 15.2  Review criteria used in the 2 previous years for choosing topics for development of decision aids.  The contractor may adopt the criteria or modify them as necessary.  The final criteria shall be submitted to the AHRQ Project Officer for review and approval.

Subtask 15.3  Convene a working group to develop a specific approach that could be applied to decision aids developed by the Center.  While this group could develop a proposed method for decision aids within the context of a specific topic, the Center shall develop a generic protocol that can be used to expedite the development and maintenance of high quality decision aids produced by the center. Invited experts will be asked to participate in discussions regarding development strategies and other relevant topics.  Estimate 1-2 working group meetings in the Washington DC Metro area and 3-4 teleconferences per year (including option years).   Estimate 5-10 attendees per meeting.

Subtask 15.4  Review recent and upcoming EHC evidence reviews.  Using criteria established in Subtask 15.2 and in collaboration with the AHRQ Project Officer and relevant AHRQ staff, choose a topic or topics for which to develop a decision aid.  The Center will submit a proposal to the Project Officer for review.  This proposal should highlight: 1) the importance of the decision aid for consumer decision making; 2) the content and methodologic experts who will be working on the decision aid; 3) a general overview of the proposed decision aid (e.g. major categories of information provided, type of value clarification exercises, etc.); 3)  data sources for the decision aid, particularly those required outside of the ER; 4) mechanism for assuring that the decision aid will conform to IPDAS standards; 5) proposed evaluation of the decision aid; and 6) estimated timeline and budget.

Subtask 15.5  Develop an algorithm for a decision aid for selected ERs.  This algorithm should at a minimum highlight the information to be conveyed in the decision aid, any specific tailoring of information necessary, any preference elicitation or values clarification activities, and any guidance or concrete actions to be recommended by the decision aids.  The contractor shall submit the algorithm to the Project Officer in paper and electronic forms for review and approval.  A generic protocol for development of decision aids should be developed either prior to or in conjunction with the protocol for the selected ER.

Subtask 15.6  Develop the decision aid and place the aid on the EHC website. (http://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/)

Task 16  Maintain Web-page Deployment Responsibilities for MMA Program Activities

AHRQ MMA activities will be made available via the AHRQ Web site using sub-ordinate URLs supplied by AHRQ.  The maintenance of the Web site and access to MMA related activities will be performed by the Contractor.

Subtask 16.1  The Contractor shall maintain and update the existing web access for the MMA 1013 activities for each year. The web access shall be versatile and expandable to accommodate varied needs of users while allowing for expansion and technological improvements as well as technical and information environment changes. The Contractor shall develop individual pages for each individual AHRQ project or program in consultation with the project officer.  The Contractor shall ensure that the Web site meets the Agency's requirements as follows:

  • Maintain its presence on the World Wide Web (WWW), and make it available to invited participants through unique Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) that are sub-ordinate to the AHRQ Home Page.   The URLs will be supplied and registered by AHRQ.
  • The Contractor-developed Web site shall have the capacity for information searches to locate information locally stored or remotely linked data and contain sections describing how the contents are maintained. The Web site also shall contain a direct link to a privacy statement approved by the Project Officer, and a search feature that supports both keyword searches and scrolling for information.
  • The Contractor shall provide support for Web production, provide all application hardware necessary to host the Web site and connect it to the Internet with sufficient bandwidth to meet project needs, and provide for a physical location to house the Web site. The Contractor shall plan for a load tolerance of at least 100 simultaneous users and support a minimum of 1,000 user sessions per day. The Contractor shall prepare a contingency plan in case traffic appears to be exceeding these estimates so that it will be able to reconstitute the hardware/software platform to tolerate the increased load within 60 calendar days of a noted need to expand capacity. (No costs shall be budgeted for the contingency plan in the offerer's proposal, and no costs for implementing the contingency plan shall be incurred by the Contractor unless approved in advance by the Contracting Officer.)
  • The Contractor shall provide mechanisms for 24 x 7 systems near-full time availability to ensure system uptime for user operations including updates. Any hardware or software failure shall not result in a loss of more than 27 hours of current data, any software failure shall not result in more than 72 hours of downtime, any hardware failure shall not result in more than 72 hours of downtime, and any Internet connectivity failure shall not result in more than 48 hours of downtime. The contractor shall test the backup/restore process at least monthly and report any failures to the Project Officer through the progress report.
  • The Contractor shall provide a system that maximizes security and data privacy (even in the event of a catastrophic failure). The Contractor shall use necessary and appropriate firewall mechanisms and/or other blocking devices. Any unauthorized access shall be immediately reported to the Project Officer as well as being included in the progress report. The Contractor shall comply with all Federal and DHHS security guidelines.
  • The contractor shall comply with all applicable provisions of section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as it relates to all materials, information, tools, electronic and information technology, etc., placed on the EHC Web site (an overview of Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act compliance can be found at http://www.usability.gov/). This section provides technical specifications and performance-based requirements, which focus on the functional capabilities of covered technologies. This dual approach recognizes the dynamic and continually evolving nature of the technology involved as well as the need for clear and specific standards to facilitate compliance. Certain provisions are designed to ensure compatibility with adaptive equipment people with disabilities commonly use for information and communication access, such as screen readers, Braille displays, and TTYs. A list of the standards can be accessed at http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/standards.htm, however a brief summary of the applicable standards has been provided below:

Subpart B – Technical Standards

Software Applications and Operating Systems (§ 1194.21)

Most of the specifications for software pertain to usability for people with vision impairments. For example, one provision requires alternative keyboard navigation, which is essential for people with vision impairments who cannot rely on pointing devices, such as a mouse. Other provisions address animated displays, color and contrast settings, flash rate, and electronic forms, among others.

Web-based Intranet and Internet Information and Applications (§ 1194.22)

The criteria for web-based technology and information are based on access guidelines developed by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium. Many of these provisions ensure access for people with vision impairments who rely on various assistive products to access computer-based information, such as screen readers, which translate what's on a computer screen into automated audible output, and refreshable Braille displays. Certain conventions, such as verbal tags or identification of graphics and format devices, like frames, are necessary so that these devices can "read" them for the user in a sensible way. The standards do not prohibit the use of web site graphics or animation. Instead, the standards aim to ensure that such information is also available in an accessible format. Generally, this means use of text labels or descriptors for graphics and certain format elements. (HTML code already provides an "Alt Text" tag for graphics which can serve as a verbal descriptor for graphics). This section also addresses the usability of multimedia presentations, image maps, style sheets, scripting languages, applets and plug-ins, and electronic forms.

The standards apply to Federal web sites but not to private sector web sites (unless a site is provided under contract to a Federal agency, in which case only that web site or portion covered by the contract would have to comply). Accessible sites offer significant advantages that go beyond access. For example, those with "text-only" options provide a faster downloading alternative and can facilitate transmission of web-based data to cell phones and personal digital assistants.

Video and multimedia products (§ 1194.24)

  1. All training and informational video and multimedia productions which support the agency's mission, regardless of format, that contain speech or other audio information necessary for the comprehension of the content, shall be open or closed captioned.
  2. All training and informational video and multimedia productions which support the agency's mission, regardless of format, that contain visual information necessary for the comprehension of the content, shall be audio described.
  3. Display or presentation of alternate text presentation or audio descriptions shall be user-selectable unless permanent.

Subpart C -- Functional Performance Criteria

Functional performance criteria (§ 1194.31)

  1. At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require user vision shall be provided, or support for assistive technology used by people who are blind or visually impaired shall be provided.
  2. At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require visual acuity greater than 20/70 shall be provided in audio and enlarged print output working together or independently, or support for assistive technology used by people who are visually impaired shall be provided.
  3. At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require user hearing shall be provided, or support for assistive technology used by people who are deaf or hard of hearing shall be provided.
  4. Where audio information is important for the use of a product, at least one mode of operation and information retrieval shall be provided in an enhanced auditory fashion, or support for assistive hearing devices shall be provided.
  5. At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require user speech shall be provided, or support for assistive technology used by people with disabilities shall be provided.
  6. At least one mode of operation and information retrieval that does not require fine motor control or simultaneous actions and that is operable with limited reach and strength shall be provided.

Subpart D -- Information, Documentation, and Support

Information, documentation, and support (§ 1194.41)

  1. Product support documentation provided to end-users shall be made available in alternate formats upon request, at no additional charge.
  2. End-users shall have access to a description of the accessibility and compatibility features of products in alternate formats or alternate methods upon request, at no additional charge.
  3. Support services for products shall accommodate the communication needs of end-users with disabilities.

To ensure initial and continued compliance with Section 508 the contractor shall submit documentation that addresses how any product or service considered for purchasing conforms to the standards.  The contractor shall complete an accessibility template which can be accessed at The HHS Section 508 Product Accessibility Template - PAT.  Also the contractor shall submit an annual reporting of its compliance with Section 508 (guidance can be accessed at Section 508 Annual Report Template).

  • The Contractor shall not use persistent cookies.
  • The Contractor shall not require the provision of personal information to visit the Web site, and personal information shall not be automatically collected. Personal information may be collected to respond to a user's message or to fulfill the stated purpose of any communication by a user, or to obtain voluntary input, comment, or review.
  • The Contractor shall post the AHRQ and DHHS logo prominently on the Web site.

The Contractor may collect the name of the domain users to access the site, bandwidth, the type of browser and operating system the user utilized to access the site, the date and time of the user's visit, and the address of the Web site the user came from when referred by another site. COTS software shall be proposed to track and monitor Web site usage. Keywords entered into the search engine of the Web site may also be tracked.  COTS software shall be used for provision of database capabilities.

Subtask 16.2  Maintain Web-enabled versions of decision aids and related products that result from MMA related activities.

Subtask 16.3  The EHC Web site is one of the major strategic dissemination tools for the EHC program.  This site serves as a repository and clearinghouse for program products, educates consumers about health care decision making, allows stakeholders to provide input into the program both overall and on specific products, and through news and e-mail distribution list sign-up allows the public to be notified of new activities.  As a major public interface for the program, it is expected that the Center will give ongoing consideration as to how to maximize the potential of the site through optimizing the design, functionality, and outreach of the site.  The Center shall communicate regularly with the AHRQ Project Officer concerning site optimization, and should propose updates to the site as necessary.

 

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SECTION D - PACKAGING AND MARKING

Not Applicable

 

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SECTION E - INSPECTION AND ACCEPTANCE

E.1  INSPECTION AND ACCEPTANCE

  1. The contracting officer or the duly authorized representative will perform inspection and acceptance of materials and services to be provided.
  2. For the purpose of this SECTION the Government Project Officer is the authorized technical representative of the contracting officer.
  3. Inspection and acceptance will be performed at:

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, Maryland  20850

E.2  CLAUSES INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE (FEB 1998)

This contract incorporates the following clause by reference, with the same force and effect as if it were given in full text.  The full text of a clause may be accessed electronically at this address: http://www.arnet.gov/far/.

FAR Clause No.  Title and Date
52.246-5 Inspection of Services-Cost Reimbursement (April 1984)

 

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SECTION F - PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE AND DELIVERY SCHEDULE

F.1  CLAUSES INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE (FEB 1998)

This contract incorporates the following clause by reference, with the same force and effect as if they were given in full text.  The full text of a clause may be accessed electronically at this address: http://www.arnet.gov/far/.

FEDERAL ACQUISITION REGULATION (FAR) (48 CFR CHAPTER 1) CLAUSES

FAR Clause No. Title and Date
52.242-15 Stop Work Order (AUG 1989)
Alternate I (APRIL 1984)

F.2   PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE

The Government anticipates the period of performance shall begin on or about August 15, 2008 and run through August 14, 2010 with three one-year options from August 15, 2010 until August 14, 2013.

F.3   DELIVERY SCHEDULE

The Contracting Officer shall receive one copy of each progress report and final report/ final deliverable. In addition, one electronic and one hard copy of final reports and all other deliverables shall be submitted to the Project Officer.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
ATTN: Jessica Alderton, Contracting Officer
Contracts Management / OPART
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, Maryland 20850
Jessica.Alderton@ahrq.hhs.gov

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
ATTN: Marian James, Project Officer
COE
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, Maryland 20850
301-427-1609
Marian.James@ahrq.hhs.gov

The Contractor shall submit the following items (in electronic format)  in accordance with the stated delivery schedule as noted below:

   
1.0 Work plan Activities
  1.1  Orientation meeting with AHRQ

within 5 days of the effective date of Contract

  1.3  Transition meeting with AHRQ and previous contractor

within 1 week of orientation mtg

  1.4  Submit comprehensive work plan

Within 2 weeks of transition mtg and annually thereafter

  1.5  Submit clearance packet to OMB

within 2 months of the effective date of Contract

   
2.0 Evaluation
  2.1 Submit draft evaluation plan

Dec 15, 2008

  2.2 Submit final evaluation that incorporates reviewer comments

2 wks following receipt of AHRQ comments

   
3.0  Progress Reports
  3.1  Submit agenda items for call; submit call summary

weekly; weekly

  3.2  Submit monthly reports*

1st day of each month

  3.3  Submit quarterly reports*

1st day of each quarter, starting 1/1/09

  3.4  Participate in monthly management meetings with SRC and AHRQ         

1st Thursday of each month

   
5.0  Needs Assessment
  5.1  Complete initial needs assessment

Within 4 months of OMB clearance

  5.2  Submit results in report and Power Point format

Within 5 months of OMB clearance

  5.3  Update needs assessment

Per criteria

  5.3 Develop and submit criteria to decide when update is necessary

4/1/09

 

 

6.0  Review EHC products and identify key messages
  6.1  Submit background information for products

1 month after topic assignment

  6.4  Submit key messages and target audiences per EHC report

1 month from release of each draft EHC report

 

 

7.0  Development criteria
  7.1  Submit draft criteria; submit final criteria

11/14/08; 12/19/08

  7.2  Submit protocol; update protocol

2 wks after first product submitted; ongoing as appropriate

 

 

 8.0  Develop health care information products for various audiences

  8.2  Submit list of proposed external reviewers

1 month from release of each draft EHC report

  8.2  Submit draft product to AHRQ and external reviewers

3 months from release of draft EHC report

  8.4  Submit final product(s) to AHRQ

1 month from release of each final EHC report

  8.5  Submit development protocol

1 wk after submission of final product

 

 

 9.0  Health Care Glossary

  9.1 Develop and submit a brief plan to guide the update process

1/12/09

  9.2 Submit new terms and phrases or proposed changes to AHRQ

Ongoing

  9.4  Submit final copy of  terms and phrases or proposed changes for approval and posting to the EHC Web site

Ongoing

 

 

10.0  User's Guide for Decision Makers

  10.1 Submit survey report and draft proposal

1/12/09

  10.1 Submit development protocol with outline of guide

1 month after proposal is approved

  10.2  Submit draft copy of guide to AHRQ

5/19/09

  10.3 Submit draft copy of guide to external reviewers; submit reviewers comments to AHRQ

4/17/09

  10.4  Submit final copy of guide to AHRQ

5/11/09

  10.5 Post the guide on the Web site and forward other developmental materials

1 wk after AHRQ approval

 

 

 11.0  Dissemination and Implementation

  11.1 Submit the draft dissemination and implementation plan

12/1/08

  11.1 Submit the final dissemination and implementation plan for AHRQ approval

12/18/08

 

 

12.0 White Paper Meetings

  12.2  Submit planning document to AHRQ for review

2/9/09

  12.2.1  Submit outline for the papers

2/19/09

  12.3  Submit list of invited authors and discussants

2/19/09

  12.4  Submit list of invited experts

2/27/09

  12.5  Conduct meeting and evaluation of participants

6/15/09

  12.5 Submit meeting summary with an appendix that includes results from the meeting evaluation

7/7/09

  12.5  Submit final white papers

7/15/09

  12.5 Post final white papers on the EHC web site

1 week following AHRQ review of final papers

 

 

13.0  Symposiums (consumer and clinician or policymaker)

  13.1  Submit list of symposium topics, target audience, presenters, and proposed venues

1/12/09

  13.5  Submit activity report

2 weeks following each symposium

 

 

14.0 Electronic Newsletter

  14.1  Submit overview to AHRQ

1/6/09 and quarterly

  14.2 Submit draft newsletter to AHRQ

2/6/09 and quarterly

  14.3  Submit final newsletter to AHRQ for review and approval

3/6/09 and quarterly

  14.3.1 Post the approved newsletter on the Web site

4/1/09 and quarterly

 

 

15.0 Decision Aid
  15.1  Submit decision aid assessment

1/19/08

  15.2  Submit development criteria

1/19/09

  15.3  Convene working group and draft a generic decision aid protocol

TBD upon approval of project

  15.4  Submit proposal to develop decision aid

TBD upon approval of project

  15.5  Submit algorithm

TBD upon approval of project

  15.6  Place the approved decision aid on the web site

TBD upon approval of project

 

 

16.0 Maintain web site
  16.1  Migrate MMA Web products and activities

10/13/08

  16.2 Maintain and update the Web site

Ongoing

  16.3  Maintain web-enabled versions of decision aids and related EHC products

On-going

  16.4  Optimize Web site design, functionality, and outreach

Ongoing

Individual Subcontracting Report  (ISR)

October 30 (annually); April (annually) through eSRS

 

 

Summary Subcontracting Report  (SSR)

October 30 (annually) through eSRS

   
Small Disadvantaged Business Participation Report* TBD
   

If exercised, the following deliverable schedule applies to contract tasks during Option Years 1 – 3:

   
1.0 Work plan Activities
  1.1 Submit comprehensive work plan Sept 1, 2010, Sept 1, 2011, Sept 1, 2012
   
2.0 Evaluation
  2.1 Submit draft evaluation plan

Oct 1, 2010, Oct 1, 2011, Oct 1, 2012

  

2.2 Submit final evaluation that incorporates reviewer comments

         

2 wks following receipt of AHRQ comments

   
3.0  Progress Reports
  3.1  Submit agenda items for call; submit call summary

weekly; weekly

  3.2  Submit monthly reports*

1st day of each month

  3.3  Submit quarterly reports*

1st day of each quarter, starting 1/1/09

  3.4  Participate in monthly management meetings with SRC and AHRQ         

1st Thursday of each month

   
5.0  Needs Assessment
  5.1 Update needs assessment

Per criteria

  5.2 Submit updated needs assessment report

Within 3 months of assessment

 

 

6.0  Review EHC products and identify key messages
  6.1  Submit background information for products

1 month after topic assignment

  6.4  Submit key messages and target audiences per EHC report

1 month from release of each draft EHC report

 

 

7.0  Development criteria
  7.1  Submit updated draft criteria; submit final criteria

11/14/10; 12/19/10
11/14/11; 12/19/11
11/14/12; 12/19/12

  7.2  Submit updated protocol

2 wks after first product submitted; ongoing as appropriate

 

 

8.0  Develop health care information products for various audiences

  8.2  Submit list of proposed external reviewers

1 month from release of each draft EHC report

  8.2  Submit draft product to AHRQ and external reviewers

3 months from release of draft EHC report

  8.4  Submit final product(s) to AHRQ

1 month from release of each final EHC report

  8.5  Submit development protocol

1 wk after submission of final product

 

 

9.0  Health Care Glossary

  9.1 Submit new terms and phrases or proposed changes to AHRQ

Ongoing

  9.2  Submit final copy of  terms and phrases or proposed changes for approval and posting to the EHC Web site

Ongoing

 

 

10.0  User's Guide for Decision Makers

  10.1 Submit updated report

1/12/11, 1/12/12, 1/12/13

  10.2  Submit the updated guide

TBD

 

 

 11.0  Dissemination and Implementation

  11.1 Submit the updated dissemination and implementation plan

10/1/10, 10/1/11, 10/1/12

  11.1 Submit the final dissemination and implementation plan for AHRQ approval

10/18/10, 10/18/11, 10/18/12

 

 

12.0 White Paper Meetings

  12.2  Submit planning document to AHRQ for review 2/9/11, 2/9/12, 2/9/13
  12.2.1  Submit outline for the papers 2/19/11, 2/19/12, 2/19/13
  12.3  Submit list of invited authors and discussants 2/19/11, 2/19/12, 2/19/13
  12.4  Submit list of invited experts 2/27/11, 2/27/12, 2/27/13
  12.5  Conduct meeting and evaluation of participants 6/15/11, 6/15/12, 6/15/13
  12.5 Submit meeting summary with an appendix that includes results from the meeting evaluation 7/7/11, 7/7/12, 7/7/13
  12.5  Submit final white papers 7/15/11, 7/15/12, 7/15/13
  12.5 Post final white papers on the EHC web site

1 week following AHRQ review of final papers

 

 

13.0  Symposiums (consumer and clinician or policymaker)

  13.1  Submit list of symposium topics, target audience, presenters, and proposed venues

1/12/11, 1/12/12, 1/12/13

  13.5  Submit activity report

2 weeks following each symposium

 

 

14.0 Electronic Newsletter

  14.1  Submit overview to AHRQ

1/6/11 and quarterly

  14.2 Submit draft newsletter to AHRQ

2/6/11 and quarterly

  14.3  Submit final newsletter to AHRQ for review and approval

3/6/11 and quarterly

  14.3.1 Post the approved newsletter on the Web site

4/1/11 and quarterly

 

 

15.0 Decision Aid
  15.1  Submit decision aid assessment 1/19/11, 1/19/12, 1/19/13
  15.2  Submit development criteria 1/19/11, 1/19/12, 1/19/13
  15.3  Convene working group and draft a generic decision aid protocol

TBD upon approval of project

  15.4  Submit proposal to develop decision aid

TBD upon approval of project

  15.5  Submit algorithm

TBD upon approval of project

  15.6  Place the approved decision aid on the web site

TBD upon approval of project

 

 

16.0 Maintain web site
  16.1 Maintain and update the Web site

Ongoing

  16.2  Maintain web-enabled versions of decision aids and related EHC products

On-going

  16.3  Optimize Web site design, functionality, and outreach

Ongoing

Individual Subcontracting Report  (ISR)

October 30 (annually); April (annually) through eSRS

 

 

Summary Subcontracting Report  (SSR)

October 30 (annually) through eSRS

   
Small Disadvantaged Business Participation Report* TBD
   

* The Contracting Officer shall receive one copy of each deliverable denoted by an asterisk.

 

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SECTION G - CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION DATA

G.1  KEY PERSONNEL

Pursuant to the Key Personnel clause incorporated in Section I of this contract, the following individual(s) is/are considered to be essential to the work being performed hereunder:

NAME                  TITLE

(TO BE COMPLETED AT TIME OF AWARD)                      

The clause cited above contains a requirement for review and approval by the Contracting Officer of written requests for a change of Key Personnel reasonably in advance of diverting any of these individuals from this contract.  Receipt of written requests at least 30 days prior to a proposed change is considered reasonable.

G.2  PROJECT OFFICER

The following Project Officer(s) will represent the Government for the purpose of this contract:

(TO BE COMPLETED AT TIME OF AWARD)

The Project Officer(s) is/are responsible for: (1) monitoring the contractor's technical progress, including the surveillance and assessment of performance and recommending to the contracting officer changes in requirements; (2) interpreting the statement of work and any other technical performance requirements; (3) performing technical evaluation as required; (4) performing technical inspections and acceptances required by this contract; and (5) assisting in the resolution of technical problems encountered during performance.

The Contracting Officer is the only person with authority to act as an agent of the Government under this contract.  Only the Contracting Officer has authority to: (1) direct or negotiate any changes in the statement of work; (2) modify or extend the period of performance; (3) change the delivery schedule; (4) authorize reimbursement to the contractor of any costs incurred during the performance of this contract; or (5) otherwise change any terms and conditions of this contract.

The Government may unilaterally change its Project Officer designation.

G.3  INVOICE SUBMISSION

  1. INVOICE SUBMISSION

Billing Instructions follow and are made part of this contract. Instructions and the following directions for the submission of invoices must be followed to meet the requirements  of a "proper" payment request pursuant to FAR 32.9, and must be in accordance with the General Provisions clause 52.232-25 Prompt Payment (OCT 2003).

Invoices/financing requests shall be submitted in an original and two copies to:

Contracting Officer         
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Division of Contracts Management
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, Maryland  20850

G.4  INFORMATION ON VOUCHERS

  1. The Contractor IS REQUIRED to include the following minimum information on vouchers:
    1. Contractor's name and invoice date;
    2. Contract Number;
    3. Description and price of services actually rendered;
    4. Other substantiating documentation or information as required by the contract;
    5. Name (where practicable), title, phone number, and complete mailing address or responsible official to whom payment is to be sent; and
    6. The Internal Revenue Service Taxpayer Identification Number.
  2. The Contractor shall furnish the following minimum information in support of costs submitted:
    1. Direct Labor - include all persons, listing the person's name, title, number of hours or days worked, hourly rate (unburdened) the total cost per person and a total amount of this category;
    2. Fringe Costs - show rate, base and total amount as well as verification/allowability or rate changes (when applicable);
    3. Overhead or Indirect Costs - show rate, base and total amount as well as verification/allowability or rate changes (when applicable);
    4. Consultants - include the name, number of days or hours worked, a total amount per consultant and a total amount for this category;
    5. Travel - include for each airplane or train trip taken the name of the traveler, date of travel, destination, the transportation costs including ground transportation, shown separately, and per diem costs.  Other travel costs shall also be listed.  A total amount for this category shall be provided;
    6. Subcontractors - include for each subcontractor, the same data and level of detail that is being provided for the prime contractor.  A total number for this category shall be provided.
    7. Data Processing - include all non-labor costs, i.e., computer time, equipment purchase, lease or rental, data tapes, etc.  A total amount for this category shall be provided.
    8. Other - include a listing of all other direct charges to the contract, i.e., office supplies, telephone, equipment rental, duplication, etc.
    9. Equipment Cost - itemize and identify separately from material costs including reference to approval in all cases;
    10. G&A - show rate, base and total as well as verification/allowability of rate changes (when applicable); and
    11. Fee - show rate, base and total;
    12. Current amount billed by individual cost element and total dollar amount; and
    13. Cumulative amount billed by individual cost element and total dollar amount.
  3. Payment shall be made by:

PSC Finance
Parklawn Building, Room 16-23
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, Maryland 20857
Telephone Number (301) 443-6766

G.5  INDIRECT COST RATES and FEE

In accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) (48 CFR Chapter 1) Clause 52.216-7, Allowable Cost and Payment, incorporated by reference in this contract, in Part II, Section I, the primary contact point responsible for negotiating provisional and/or final indirect cost rates is the cognizant contracting official as set forth in FAR Subpart 42.7 - Indirect Cost Rates.

Reimbursement will be limited to the rates and time periods covered by the negotiated agreements.  The rates, if negotiated, are hereby incorporated without further action of the contracting officer.

G.6  ELECTRONIC FUNDS TRANSFER

Pursuant to FAR 52.232-33, Payment by Electronic Funds Transfer - Central Contractor Registration (OCT 2003), the Contractor shall designate a financial institution for receipt of electronic funds transfer payments.  This designation shall be submitted, in writing, to the finance office designated in the contract.

 

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SECTION H - SPECIAL CONTRACT REQUIREMENTS

H.1  RELEASE AND USE AND COPYRIGHT OF DATA FIRST PRODUCED FROM WORK PERFORMED UNDER THIS CONTRACT

  1. Release and Use – Data first produced in the performance of the Contract.  As permitted in FAR 52.227-17, the provisions of this Section H.1 shall apply to any release or use of data first produced in the performance of the Contract and any analysis, tools, methodologies, or recorded product based on such data.
  2. Release and Use – Requirements related to confidentiality and quality.  To ensure public trust in the confidentiality protections afforded participants in Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)-supported research, AHRQ requires and monitors compliance by its contractors with section 934(c) of the Public Health Service Act (PHS Act) (42 U.S.C. 299c-3(c)), which states in part that

No information, if the establishment or person supplying the information or described in it is identifiable, obtained in the course of activities undertaken or supported under this title, may be used for any purpose other than the purpose for which it was supplied unless such establishment or person has consented...to its use for such other purpose.  Such information may not be published or released in other form if the person who supplied the information or who is described in it is identifiable unless such person has consented...to its publication or release in other form.

In addition to this requirement, section 933(b)(1) of the PHS Act (42 U.S.C. 299c-2(b)(1)) requires AHRQ to assure that statistics and analyses developed with Agency support are of high quality, comprehensive, timely, and adequately analyzed.  Accordingly -- 

  1. prior to the release or use of data based upon work performed under this Contract, the Contractor agrees to consult with the Project and Contract Officers regarding the proposed release or use.  The Contractor will in good faith consider, discuss, and respond to any comments or suggested modifications that are provided by AHRQ within two months of receiving the proposed release or use.

The purpose of such consultation is to assure that:

  1. identifiable information is being used exclusively for the purpose(s) for which it was supplied or appropriate consents have been obtained;
  2. the confidentiality promised to individuals and establishments supplying identifiable information or described in it is not violated; and
  3. the quality of statistical and analytical work meets the statutory standards cited above.
  1. The Contractor must satisfy conditions (1)(A) and (1)(B).  At the conclusion of any consultation required by paragraph (b)(1) above, if AHRQ and the Contractor cannot agree that a proposed use or release satisfies condition (1)(C) above:
    1. the research professional at the Contractor responsible for the quality of the Contract work will, in advance of any release or use of such data, certify in a letter to the Contracting Officer what differences of opinion cannot be resolved regarding the statutory standards referenced in condition (1)(C) and the basis for Contractor assertions that these standards have been met; and
    2. the Contractor must print prominently on the release or other product, or on any portion that is released, or state prior to any oral presentation or release of such material, the following disclaimer:

THIS PRESENTATION/ PUBLICATION/OR OTHER PRODUCT IS DERIVED FROM WORK SUPPORTED UNDER A CONTRACT WITH THE AGENCY FOR HEALTHCARE RESEARCH AND QUALITY (AHRQ) CONTRACT#   .  HOWEVER, THIS PRESENTATION/ PUBLICATION/OR OTHER PRODUCT HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED BY THE AGENCY.

  1. Required Statement Regarding Protected Information.  On all written material or other recorded products, or preceding any presentation or other oral disclosure, release or use of material based on identifiable information obtained in the course of work performed under this contract, the Contractor shall make the following statement:

    IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION ON WHICH THIS REPORT, PRESENTATION, OR OTHER FORM OF DISCLOSURE IS BASED IS PROTECTED BY FEDERAL LAW, SECTION 934(c) OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ACT, 42 U.S.C. 299c-3(c).  NO IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION ABOUT ANY INDIVIDUALS OR ENTITIES SUPPLYING THE INFORMATION OR DESCRIBED IN IT MAY BE KNOWINGLY USED EXCEPT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THEIR PRIOR CONSENT.  ANY CONFIDENTIAL IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION IN THIS REPORT OR PRESENTATION THAT IS KNOWINGLY DISCLOSED IS DISCLOSED SOLELY FOR THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH IT WAS PROVIDED.

  2. Copyright – Data first produced in the performance of the Contract.  Subject to the terms of this Section regarding release and use of data, AHRQ, through its Contracting Officer, will grant permission under FAR 52.227-17(c)(1)(i) to the Contractor to establish claim to copyright subsisting in scientific and technical articles based on or containing data first produced in the performance of this contract that are submitted for publication in academic, technical or professional journals, symposia proceedings or similar works.  When claim to copyright is made, the Contractor shall affix the applicable copyright notice of 17 U.S.C. 401 or 402 and acknowledgment of Government sponsorship (including contract number) to the data when such data are delivered to the Government, as well as when the data are published or deposited for registration as a published work in the U.S. Copyright Office.  In such circumstances, the Contractor hereby agrees to grant to AHRQ, and others acting on its behalf, a paid-up, nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license for all such data to reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute copies to the public, and perform publicly and display publicly, by or on behalf of AHRQ.  A description of this license will be incorporated into the copyright notices required above.
  3. Subcontracts.  Whenever data, analyses, or other recorded products are to be developed by a subcontractor under this Contract, the Contractor must include the terms of H.1 in the subcontract, without substantive alteration, with a provision that the subcontractor may not further assign to another party any of its obligations to the Contractor.  No clause may be included to diminish the Government's stated requirements or rights regarding release or use of products or materials based on data derived from work performed under this contract.

H.2  LACK OF COMPLIANCE WITH REQUIREMENTS FOR RELEASE OR USE

Failure to submit materials for statutorily mandated confidentiality and statistical and analytic quality reviews as required by Section H.1 of this contract will be viewed as a material violation and breach of the terms of this contract, as the requirements of this provision are necessary for AHRQ to carry out its statutory obligations and responsibilities.  Records of the Contractor's performance, including the Contractor's performance pertaining to this Contract, will be maintained in AHRQ's Contracts Management Office and will be considered as an element of past performance which is part of all subsequent competitive contract proposal reviews. 

H.3  SUBCONTRACTS

Award of any subcontract is subject to the prior written approval of the Contracting Officer upon review of the supporting documentation.  Failure to obtain prior written approval of the Contracting Officer may result in disallowance of use of Federal funds to cover services under the subcontract. The contractor must include in any subcontracts executed or used to provide the support specified in this contract the terms of requirements H.1, H.2, H.7 and H.9.  These requirements are to be included without substantive alteration, and no clause may be included to diminish these requirements. If approved, a copy of the signed subcontract shall be provided to the Contracting Officer.
           
H.4  LATE PAYMENTS TO THE GOVERNMENT

Late payment of debts owed the Government by the Contractor, arising from whatever cause, under this contract/order shall bear interest at a rate or rates to be established in accordance with the Treasury Fiscal Requirements Manual.  For purposes of this provision, late payments are defined as payments received by the Government more than 30 days after the Contractor has been notified in writing by the Contracting Officer of:

  1. The basis of indebtedness.
  2. The amount due.
  3. The fact that interest will be applied if payment is not received within 30 days from the date of mailing of the notice.
  4. The approximate interest rate that will be charged.

H.5  PRIVACY ACT

The Privacy Act clauses cited in Section I (FAR 52.224-1 and 52.224-2) are applicable to the consultant records kept by the Contractor for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

You are hereby notified that the Contractor and its employees are subject to criminal penalties for violations of the Act (5 U.S.C. 552a(i)) to the same extent as employees of the Department.  The Contractor shall assure that each Contractor employee is aware that he/she can be subjected to criminal penalties for violations of the Act.  Disposition instructions:  Records are to be destroyed after contract closeout is completed and final payment is made and in accordance with IRS regulations.

H.6  PRO-CHILDREN ACT of 1994

The Pro-Children Act of 1994, P.L. 103-227, imposes restrictions on smoking where certain federally funded childrens' services are provided.  P.L. 103-227 states in pertinent part:

PHS strongly encourages all grant and contract recipients to provide a smoke-free workplace and to promote the non-use of all tobacco products.  In addition, P.L. 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in certain facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which regular or routine education, library, day care, health care or early childhood development services are provided to children."  

H.7  SALARY CAP GUIDE NOTICE    

Pursuant to the applicable HHS appropriations acts cited in the table below, the Contractor shall not use contract funds to pay the direct salary of an individual at a rate in excess of the salary level in effect on the date the expense is incurred as shown in the table below. 

For purposes of the salary limitation, the terms direct salary, salary, and institutional base salary have the same meaning and are collectively referred to as direct salary in this clause. An individual's direct salary is the annual compensation that the Contractor pays for an individual's appointment whether that individual's time is spent on research, teaching, patient care, or other activities. Direct salary excludes any income that an individual may be permitted to earn outside of duties to the Contractor. Direct salary also excludes fringe benefits, overhead, and general and administrative expenses (also referred to as indirect costs or facilities and administrative [F&A] costs). 

The salary rate limitation also applies to individuals performing under subcontracts. However, it does not apply to fees paid to consultants. If this is a multiple-year contract, it may be subject to unilateral modification by the Contracting Officer to ensure that an individual is not paid at a rate that exceeds the salary rate limitation provision established in the HHS appropriations act in effect when the expense is incurred regardless of the rate initially used to establish contract funding.

Public law Period Covered Salary Limitation(based on Executive Level I)

P.L. 110-161, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008

1/1/08 – Until revised $191,300

Executive Level salaries for the current and prior periods can be found at the following Web site: http://www.opm.gov/oca/05tables/html/ex.asp.   Click on "Salaries and Wages" and then scroll to the bottom of the page to select the desired period.

 

H.8  PERFORMANCE EVALUATION AND AWARD FEE

  1. Performance Evaluation Factors

The Government will evaluate the following factors of the Contractor's performance:

Performance Factor Related SOW Tasks Weight
1.  Project Management Tasks 1, 3, 4 10%
2.  Information Needs Assessment and Product Evaluation. Tasks 2, 5 10%
3.  Planning, Design and Development of Information Products. Tasks 6, 7, 8, 15 35%
4.  Development and Implementation of Symposiums, White Papers and Newsletter on Health Care Decision and Communication Sciences Tasks 12, 13, 14 10%
5.  Dissemination of EHC Program Products. (includes EHC Web site support) Tasks 9, 10, 11, 16 35%

Note: Performance Factor weights in the out years may be adjusted by contract modification, based on changes in program needs.

  1. Performance Requirements Summary

    Attachment 4 summarizes the performance standards and Government surveillance methods for each of the above performance factors.

  2. Award Fee Plan

The Government anticipates a Cost-Plus-Award Fee (CPAF) contract to result from this solicitation. In this type of contract, the Contractor will receive a small base fee. In addition to the base fee, award fee will be tied to the evaluation of specific products and services in accordance with Attachment 4 - Performance Requirements Summary.

The Agency's decision to pay or not to pay Award Fee in no way alters the Contractor's responsibilities to perform any services or produce any deliverables required by this contract. The Agency's decision to pay or not to pay Award Fee in no way alters the Agency's obligation to pay the Contractor for satisfactory deliverables in accordance with this contract.

Award Fee is available for services and products identified below.

 

Annual Amounts Available for Award Fee (to be evaluated semi-annually):

Each Contract Year

Performance Evaluation Factor

% of Award Fee Pool

Award for Evaluation Unacceptable

Rating score of below 60 reduces Base Fee by 50% for rating period.

Award for Evaluation
Satisfactory

60-79 score

40%

Award for
Evaluation
Exceeds Expectations
80-89 score

80%

Award for
Evaluation Outstanding

90-100 score
100%

Project Management. 10%        
Information Needs Assessment and Product Evaluation. 10%        
Planning, Design and Development of Information Products. 35%        
Development and Implementation of Symposiums, White Papers and Newsletter on Health Care Decision and Commun. Sciences. 10%        
Dissemination of EHC Program Products. (includes EHC Web site support) 35%        

On a semi-annual basis, the Contractor's products and services will be evaluated in terms of the above performance factors by an Award Fee Evaluation Group (AFEG). The AFEG will consist of the Project Officer, the Contracting Officer or his/her designee, and, as appropriate, other Government officials selected by the Project Officer (depending on specific expertise) and approved by the Contracting Officer.

Each member of the Award Fee Evaluation Group will evaluate the Contractor's performance against the performance standards of quality and timeliness listed in Exhibit 1.

A numerical rating scale of 0 to 100 will be used. The scale is defined as follows:

Definition of Rating Adjective Rating Numerical Rating Fee %

Outstanding - Contractor's performance exceeds standards by substantial margin; the performance monitor can cite few areas for improvement, all of which are minor. Required rework is minimal.

Outstanding 90 - 100 100%
Exceeds Expectations - Contractor's performance exceeds standards, and although there may be several areas for improvement, these are more than offset by better performance in other areas. Required rework is limited.

Exceeds Expectations

80 – 89

80%

Satisfactory - Contractor's performance is generally satisfactory, and areas for improvement are approximately offset by better performance in other areas. Required rework is moderate.

Satisfactory

60 – 79

40%
Unsatisfactory - Contractor's performance is less than standards by a substantial margin, and the performance monitor can cite many areas for improvement which are not offset by better performance in other areas.  Required rework is extensive. Unacceptable Below 60 Base Fee Reduced by 50%

Each member of the AFEG will give each performance factor a numerical rating, and those ratings will be averaged. An average score of less than 60 (Unsatisfactory will result in a reduction in the base fee of 50% for the performance factor for the rating period.  An average score of 60-79 (Satisfactory) will result in award of 40% of the Award Fee for the performance factor. An average score of 80-89 (Exceeds Expectations) will result in award of 80% of the Award Fee for the performance factor, and an average of 90-100 (Outstanding) will result in award of 100% of the Award Fee for the  performance factor. The Award Fee determinations are not subject to the disputes clause.

H.9  SECURITY AND PRIVACY REQUIREMENTS

1.0  In compliance with OMB Circular A-130, "Management of Federal Information Resources," the Contractor shall prepare an IT Security Plan that will include a control process to ensure that appropriate management, operational and technical safeguards are incorporated into all AHRQ IT Applications.  The Contractor shall use the guidance provided in the documentation standards of the National Institute of Standards and Technology; NIST Special Publication 800-18 Rev. 1  "Guide for Developing Security Plans for Information Technology Systems" when developing the IT Security Plan.

In addition, the contractor shall comply with the IT Application(s) security requirements needed for the contract as set forth in the Statement of Work. The Contractor further agrees to include this provision in any subcontract awarded pursuant to the prime contract.  The draft and final IT Security Plan will be submitted as a deliverable to the Agency for Healthcare and Research (AHRQ) Project Officer for review and approval.

1.1  The Contractor shall insure that PII (Personally Identifiable Information, defined by FOIA II) data is never allowed on a system with public (Internet) access.

1.2  The Contractor shall conduct and maintain a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) as defined by Section 208 of the E-Government Act of 2002 and FAR Clause 52-239-1.  Periodic reviews shall be conducted to determine if a major change to the system has occurred, and if a PIA update is needed.

1.3  Contractor shall abide by all requirements of the Privacy Act of 1974 and FAR Clause 52-239-1.  Pursuant to those requirements, contractor will publish a System of Record (SOR) notice in the Federal Register when a new System of Records is to be created and will publish an updated SOR notice following a "major change" as defined by Office of Memorandum and Budget Memorandum 03-22 or subsequent replacement guidance.

2.0 Information Systems Security Training:

AHRQ and HHS policy requires contractors receive security training commensurate with their responsibilities for performing work under the terms and conditions of their contractual agreements.

The contractor will be responsible for assuring that each contractor employee has completed the Security Awareness Training as required by AHRQ prior to performing any contract work, and on an annual basis thereafter, during the period of performance of the contract. The contractor shall maintain a listing of all individuals who have completed this training and shall submit this listing to the Project Officer.

2.1  Additional security training requirements commensurate with the position may be required as defined in NIST Special Publication 800-16, Information Technology Security Training Requirements (http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-16/800-16.pdf). The document above provides information about information security training that may be useful to potential offerors. The contractor shall maintain a list of all individuals who have significant security responsibilities that have completed the AHRQ_Combined_Security_Training and submit the list to the Project Officer.

3.0 Access to HHS electronic mail:
All Contractor staff that have access to and use of HHS electronic mail (e-mail) must identify themselves as contractors on all outgoing e-mail messages, including those that are sent in reply or are forwarded to another user. To best comply with this requirement, the contractor staff shall set up an e-mail signature ("AutoSignature") or an electronic business card ("V-card") on each contractor employee's computer system and/or Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) that will automatically display "Contractor" in the signature area of all e-mails sent.

4.0  Commitment to Protect Departmental Information Systems and Data

Contractor Agreement: The Contractor shall not release, publish, or disclose Departmental information to unauthorized personnel, and shall protect such information in accordance with provisions of the following laws and any other pertinent laws and regulations governing the confidentiality of sensitive information:

-18 U.S.C. 641 (Criminal Code: Public Money, Property or Records)

-18 U.S.C. 1905 (Criminal Code: Disclosure of Confidential Information)

-Public Law 96-511 (Paperwork Reduction Act)

4.1  Contractor-Employee Non-Disclosure Agreements:

Each contractor employee who may have access to sensitive Department information under this contract shall complete Commitment to Protect Non-Public Information - Contractor Agreement. A copy of each signed and witnessed Non-Disclosure agreement shall be submitted to the Project Officer prior to performing any work under the contract.


References

  1. HHS Information Security Program Policy:
    http://www.hhs.gov/ohr/manual/pssh.pdf
  2. HHS Personnel Security/Suitability Handbook:
    http://www.hhs.gov/ohr/manual/pssh.pdf
  3. NIST Special Publication 800-16, Information Technology Security Training Requirements:

    http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-16/800-16.pdf

    Appendix A-D: http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-16/AppendixA-D.pdf

  4. NIST SP 800-18, Guide for Developing Security Plans for Information Technology Systems: http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/index.html
  5. NIST SP 800-60, Guide for Mapping Types of Information and Information Systems to Security Categories, Volume I: http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-60-rev1/SP800-60_Vol1-Rev1.pdf
  6. NIST SP 800-60, Guide for Mapping Types of Information and Information Systems to Security Categories, Volume II: http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-60-rev1/SP800-60_Vol2-Rev1.pdf
  7. NIST SP 800-37, Guide for Security Certification and Accreditation of Federal Information Systems:
    http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-37/SP800-37-final.pdf
  8. Recommended Security Controls for a Federal Information System:
    http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-53-Rev2/sp800-53-rev2-final.pdf
  9. NIST SP 800-26, Security Self Assessment Guide for Information Technology Systems: (No longer on NIST site)
  10. NIST SP 800-64, Security Considerations in the Information System Development Life Cycle:
    http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-64/NIST-SP800-64.pdf
  11. Federal Information Processing Standards, Standards for Security Categorization of Federal Information and Information Systems: http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/fips/fips199/FIPS-PUB-199-final.pdf
  12. Federal Information Processing Standards, Minimum Security Requirements for a Federal Information System:
    http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/fips/fips200/FIPS-200-final-march.pdf
  13. AHRQ will provide in electronic format the AHRQ_Combined _Security Training slides.

Return to Contents

(FAC 2005-25)

SECTION I

CONTRACT CLAUSES
GENERAL CLAUSES FOR A COST-PLUS-A-FIXED-FEE CONTRACT

CLAUSES INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE (FEBRUARY 1998)

This contract incorporates the following clauses by reference, with the same force and effect as if they were given in full text.  Upon request, the Contracting Officer will make their full
text available.  Also, the full text of a clause may be accessed electronically at this address: http://www.arnet.gov/far/

I.   FEDERAL ACQUISITION REGULATION (FAR) (48 CFR CHAPTER 1) CLAUSES

FAR Clause No. Title and Date
52.203-3 Gratuities (APR 1984)
52.203-5 Covenant Against Contingent Fee (APR 1984)
52.203-6 Restrictions on Subcontractor Sales to the Government (SEPT 2006)
52.203-7 Anti-Kickback Procedures (JUL 1995)
52.203-8 Cancellation, Rescission, and Recovery of Funds for Illegal or Improper Activity (JAN 1997)
52.203-10 Price or Fee Adjustment for Illegal or Improper Activity (JAN 1997)
52.203-12 Limitation on Payments to Influence Certain Federal Transactions (SEP 2007)
52.203-14 Display of Hotline Poster(s) (DEC 2007) (Department of Health and Human Services Poster at: http://www.oig.hhs.gov/hotline/OIG_Hotline_Poster.pdf)
52.204-4 Printing or Copying Double-Sided on Recycled Paper (AUG 2000)
52.204-7 Central Contractor Registration. (APR 2008)
52.209-6 Protecting the Government's Interest When Subcontracting With Contractors Debarred, Suspended, or Proposed for Debarment (SEPT 2006)
52.215-2 Audit and Records - Negotiation (JUN 1999)
52.215-8 Order of Precedence-Uniform Contract Format (Oct 1997)
52.215-10 Price Reduction for Defective Cost or Pricing Data (OCT 1997) (applicable to contract actions over $550,000)
52.215-12 Subcontractor Cost or Pricing Data (OCT 1997) (applicable to contract actions over $550,000)
52.215-15 Pension Adjustments and Asset Reversions (OCT 2004)
52.215-18 Reversion or Adjustment of Plans for Postretirement Benefits (PRB) Other Than Pensions (JUL 2005)
52.215-19 Notification of Ownership Changes (OCT 1997)
52.216-7 Allowable Cost and Payment (DEC 2002)
52.216-8 Fixed Fee (MAR 1997)
52.217-2 Cancellation Under Multiyear Contracts (OCT 1997)
52.217-9 Option to Extend the Term of the Contract (MAR 2000)
52.217-8 Option to Extend Services (NOV 1999)
52.219-9 Small Business Subcontracting Plan (APR 2008)
52.219-8 Utilization of Small Business Concerns (MAY 2004)
52.219-16 Liquidated Damages - Subcontracting Plan (JAN 1999)
52.219-28 Post-Award Small Business Program Representation (JUNE 2007)
52.222-2 Payment for Overtime Premiums (JUL 1990). The amount in paragraph (a) is "zero" unless different amount is separately stated elsewhere in contract.
52.222-3 Convict Labor (JUNE 2003)
52.222-26 Equal Opportunity (APR 2002)
52.222-35 Equal Opportunity for Special Disabled Veterans, Veterans of the Vietnam Era, and Other Eligible Veterans. (SEPT 2006)
52.222-36 Affirmative Action for Workers With Disabilities (JUNE 1998)
52.222-37 Employment Reports on Special Disabled Veterans, Veterans of the Vietnam Era, and Other Eligible Veterans. (SEPT 2006)
52.222-39 Notification of Employee Rights Concerning Payment of Union Dues or Fees (DEC 2004)
52.223-6 Drug Free Workplace (MAY 2001)
52.223-14 Toxic Chemical Release Reporting (AUG 2003)
52.224-1 Privacy Act Notification (APR 1984)
52.224-2 Privacy Act (APR 1984)
52.225-1 Buy American Act - Supplies (JUNE 2003)
52.225-13 Restrictions on Certain Foreign Purchases (FEB 2006)
52.227-1 Authorization and Consent (DEC 2007)
52.227-2 Notice and Assistance Regarding Patent and Copy-Right Infringement (DEC 2007)
52.227-3 Patent Indemnity (APRIL 1984)
52.227-17 Rights in Data - Special Works (DEC 2007)
52.228-7 Insurance-Liability to Third Persons (MAR 1996)
52.230-2 Cost Accounting Standards (APR 1998)
52.230-3 Disclosure and Consistency of Cost Accounting Practices (APR 1998)
52.230-6 Administration of Cost Accounting Standards (MAR 2008)
52.230-7 Proposal Disclosure - Cost Accounting Practice Changes (APR 2005)
52.232-9 Limitation on Withholding of Payments (APRIL 1984)
52.232-17 Interest (JUNE 1996)
52.232-18 Availability of Funds (APRIL 1984)
52.232-22 Limitation of Funds (APR 1984)
52.232-23 Assignment of Claims (JAN 1986)
52.232-25 Prompt Payment (OCT 2003)
52.232-33 Payment by Electronic Funds Transfer Central Contractor Registration (Oct 2003)
52.233-1 Disputes (JULY 2002)
52.233-3 Protest After Award (AUG 1996) Alternate I (JUNE 1985)
52.233-4 Applicable Law for Breach of Contract Claim (OCT 2004)
52.237-10 Identification of Uncompensated Overtime (Oct 1997)
52.242-1 Notice of Intent to Disallow Costs (APRIL 1984)
52.242-3 Penalties for Unallowable Costs (MAY 2001)
52.242-4 Certification of Final Indirect Costs (Jan 1997)
52.242-13 Bankruptcy (JULY 1995)
52.243-2 Changes - Cost Reimbursement (AUG 1987) - Alternate II (APRIL 1984)
52.244-2 Subcontracts (JUNE 2007)
52.244-5 Competition in Subcontracting (DEC 1996)
52.245-5 Government Property (Cost Reimbursement, Time-and-Material, or Labor-Hour Contract (MAY 2004)
52.246-5 Inspection of Services-Cost Reimbursement (APRIL 1984)
52.246-23 Limitation of Liability-(FEB 1997)
52.248-1 Value Engineering (FEB 2000)
52.249-6 Termination (Cost-Reimbursement) (MAY 2004)
52.249-14 Excusable Delays (APRIL 1984)
52.251-1 Government Supply Sources (APRIL 1984)
52.253-1 Computer Generated Forms (JAN 1991)

 

II.   DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES ACQUISITION REGULATION (HHSAR)  (48 CFR CHAPTER 3) CLAUSES

HHSAR Clause No. Title and Date
352.202-1 Definitions (JAN 2006) Alternate h
352.223-70 Safety and Health (JAN 2006)
352.224-70 Confidentiality of Information (JAN 2006)
352.228-7 Insurance - Liability to Third Persons (DEC 2006)
352.232-9 Withholding of Contract Payments (JAN 2006)
352.233-70 Litigation and Claims (JAN 2006)
352.242-71 Final Decisions on Audit Findings (APRIL 1984)
352.270-1 Accessibility of Meetings, Conferences, and Seminars to Persons With Disabilities (DEC 2006)
352.270-6 Publication and Publicity (JAN 2006)
352.270-7 Paperwork Reduction Act (JAN 2006)
352.270-8 Protection of Human Subjects (JAN 2001)

The following clause is applicable to this contract and is provided in full text:

KEY PERSONNEL (APR 1984) (HHSAR 352.270-5)

The personnel specified in this contract are considered to be essential to the work being performed hereunder.  Prior to diverting any of the specified individuals to other programs, the Contractor shall notify the Contracting Officer reasonably in advance and shall submit justification (including proposed substitutions) in sufficient detail to permit evaluation of the impact on the program.  No diversion shall be made by the Contractor without the written consent of the Contracting Officer; provided, that the Contracting Officer may ratify in writing such diversion and such ratification shall constitute the consent of the Contracting Officer required by this clause.  The contract may be amended from time to time during the course of the contract to either add or delete personnel, as appropriate.

(End of clause)

 


Return to Contents

PART III- LIST OF DOCUMENTS, EXHIBITS AND ATTACHMENTS

SECTION J - LIST OF ATTACHMENTS

 

Attachment Pages
1. Past Performance Questionnaire and Contractor Performance Form    5
2. Proposal Intent Form 1
3. Breakdown of Proposed Estimated Cost and Labor Hours   2
4. Performance Requirements Summary  10
5. AHRQ Application and System Development Requirements 11
6. HHS Web Standards 22
7. AHRQ Linking Policy 11
8. Web Accessibility Checklist 9

NOTE: ALL ATTACHMENTS ARE LOCATED AT THE END OF THIS REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL.


Return to Contents

(FAC 2005-25)

PART IV.  REPRESENTATIONS AND INSTRUCTIONS

SECTION K

REPRESENTATIONS, CERTIFICATIONS AND OTHER STATEMENTS OF OFFERORS

K.1     HHSAR 315.204-5    Representations and Instructions

K.2.    FAR 52.204-8          Annual Representations and Certifications (JAN 2006)

K.3.    FAR 52.222-21         Prohibition of Segregated Facilities (FEB 1999)

K.4.    FAR 52.230-1           Cost Accounting Standards Notices and Certification (JUNE 2000)                  

K.5.    FAR 15.406-2           Certificate of Current Cost and Pricing Data

K.6.    P.L. 103-227             Certification Regarding Environmental Tobacco Smoke

K.7.    HHSAR 352.204        Certification of Filing and Payment of Federal Taxes.
           


K.l   REPRESENTATIONS AND INSTRUCTIONS

(a) Section K, Representations, certifications, and other statements of offerors.
(1) This section shall begin with the following and continue with the applicable representations and certifications:

 

TO BE COMPLETED BY THE OFFEROR:  (The Representations and Certifications must be executed by an individual authorized to bind the Offeror.) The Offeror makes the following Representations and Certifications as part of its proposal.  (Check or complete all appropriate boxes or blanks on the following pages.)

______________________
(Name of Offeror)

______________________
(RFP No.)

______________________
(Signature of Authorized Individual)

______________________
(Date)

______________________
(Typed Name of Authorized Individual)
 

NOTE:  The penalty for making false statements in offers is  prescribed in 18 U.S.C. 1001.


K.2.  ANNUAL REPRESENTATIONS AND CERTIFICATIONS (JAN 2005) (FAR 52.204-8)

(a)(1) If the clause at 52.204-7, Central Contractor Registration, is included in this solicitation, paragraph (b) of this provision applies.

(2) If the clause at 52.204-7 is not included in this solicitation, and the offeror is currently registered in CCR, and has completed the ORCA electronically, the offeror may choose to use paragraph (b) instead of completing the corresponding individual representations and certifications in the solicitation.  The offeror shall indicate which option applies by checking one of the following boxes:

[  ] (i) Paragraph (b) applies

[  ] (ii) Paragraph (b) does not apply and the offeror has completed the individual representations and certification in the solicitation.

(b) The offeror has completed the annual representations and certifications electronically via the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA) website at https://orca.bpn.gov/ After reviewing the ORCA database information, the offeror verifies by submission of the offer that the representations and certifications currently posted electronically have been entered or updated within the last 12 months, are current, accurate, complete, and applicable to this solicitation (including the business size standard applicable to the NAICS code referenced for this solicitation), as of the date of this offer and are incorporated in this offer by reference (see FAR 4.1201); except for the changes identified below (offeror to insert changes, identifying change by clause number, title, date).  These amended representation(s) and/or certification(s) are also incorporated in this offer and are current, accurate, and complete as of the date of this offer.

FAR Clause#               Title                                         Date                Change

 

Any changes provided by the offeror are applicable to this solicitation only, and do not result in an update to the representations and certifications posted on ORCA.

(End of provision)

 


K.3. PROHIBITION OF SEGREGATED FACILITIES (FEB 1999) (FAR 52.222-21)

(a) "Segregated facilities," as used in this clause, means any waiting rooms, work areas, rest rooms and wash rooms, restaurants and other eating areas, time clocks, locker rooms and other storage or dressing areas, parking lots, drinking fountains, recreation or entertainment areas, transportation, and housing facilities provided for employees, that are segregated by explicit directive or are in fact segregated on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin because of written or oral policies or employee custom. The term does not include separate or single-user rest rooms or necessary dressing or sleeping areas provided to assure privacy between the sexes.

(b) The Contractor agrees that it does not and will not maintain or provide for its employees any segregated facilities at any of its establishments, and that it does not and will not permit its employees to perform their services at any location under its control where segregated facilities are maintained.  The Contractor agrees that a breach of this clause is a violation of the Equal Opportunity clause in this contract.

(c) The Contractor shall include this clause in every subcontract and purchase order that is subject to the Equal Opportunity clause of this contract.

(End of Clause)

 


K.4.  COST ACCOUNTING STANDARDS NOTICES AND CERTIFICATION (FAR 52.230-1) (JUNE 2000)

NOTE: This notice does not apply to small businesses or foreign governments.  This notice is in three parts, identified by Roman numerals I through III.

Offerors shall examine each part and provide the requested information in order to determine Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) requirements applicable to any resultant contract.
                                                                                               
If the offeror is an educational institution, Part II does not apply unless the contemplated contract will be subject to full or modified CAS-coverage pursuant to 48CFR 9903.201-2(c)(5) or 9903.201-2(c)(6),respectively.

I. Disclosure Statement - Cost Accounting Practices and Certification

(a) Any contract in excess of $500,000 resulting from this solicitation, will be subject to the requirements of the Cost Accounting Standards Board (48 CFR, Chapter 99), except for those contracts which are exempt as specified in 48 CFR 9903.201-1.
                                   
(b)  Any offeror submitting a proposal which, if accepted, will result in a contract subject to the requirements of 48 CFR Chapter 99 must, as a condition of contracting, submit a Disclosure Statement as required by 48 CFR 9903.202.  When required, the Disclosure Statement must be submitted as a part of the offeror's proposal under this solicitation unless the offeror has already submitted a Disclosure Statement disclosing the practices used in connection with the pricing of this proposal.  If an applicable Disclosure Statement has already been submitted, the offeror may satisfy the requirement for submission by providing the information requested in paragraph (c) of Part I of this provision. Caution:  In the absence of specific regulations or agreement, a practice disclosed in a Disclosure Statement shall not, by virtue of such disclosure, be deemed to be a proper, approved, or agreed-to practice for pricing proposals or accumulating and reporting contract performance cost data.

(c)  Check the appropriate box below:

[ ]         (1) Certificate of Concurrent Submission of Disclosure Statement.
The offeror hereby certifies that, as a part of the offer, copies of the Disclosure Statement have been submitted as follows: (i) original and one copy to the cognizant Administrative Contracting Officer (ACO) or cognizant Federal agency official authorized to act in that capacity, as applicable, and (ii) one copy to the cognizant Federal auditor.

(Disclosure must be on Form No. CASB DS-1 or CASB DS-2, as applicable.  Forms may be obtained from the cognizant ACO or Federal official and/or from the loose-leaf version of the Federal Acquisition Regulation.)

Date of Disclosure Statement ____________________________

Name and Address of Cognizant ACO or Federal official where filed:

_______________________________________

The offeror further certifies that practices used in estimating costs in pricing this proposal are consistent with the cost accounting practices disclosed in the Disclosure Statement.
                                            
[ ]         (2) Certificate of Previously Submitted Disclosure Statement.

The offeror hereby certifies that the required Disclosure Statement was filed as follows:

Date of Disclosure Statement:

__________________________
Name and Address of Cognizant

ACO or Federal official where filed:

_______________________________________

The offeror further certifies that the practices used in estimating costs in pricing this proposal are consistent with the cost accounting practices disclosed in the applicable Disclosure Statement.

[ ]         (3) Certificate of Monetary Exemption.

The offeror hereby certifies that the offeror together with all divisions, subsidiaries, and affiliates under common control, did not receive net awards of negotiated prime contracts and subcontracts subject to CAS totaling more than $25 million in the cost accounting period immediately preceding the period in which this proposal was submitted.  The offeror further certifies that if such status changes before an award resulting from this proposal, the offeror will advise the Contracting Officer immediately.   

[ ]         (4) Certificate of Interim Exemption.

The offeror hereby certifies that (i) the offeror first exceeded the monetary exemption for disclosure, as defined in (3) of this subsection, in the cost accounting period immediately preceding the period in which this offer was submitted and (ii) in accordance with 48 CFR, Subpart 9903.202-1, the offeror is not yet required to submit a Disclosure Statement.  The offeror further certifies that if an award resulting from this proposal has not been made within 90 days after the end of that period, the offeror will immediately submit a review certificate to the Contracting Officer, in the form specified under subparagraph (c)(1) or (c)(2) of Part I of this provision, as appropriate, to verify submission of a completed Disclosure Statement.

Caution:  Offerors currently required to disclose because they were awarded a CAS-covered prime contract or subcontract of $25 million or more in the current cost accounting period may not claim this exemption (4).  Further, the exemption applies only in connection with proposals submitted before expiration of the 90-day period following the cost accounting period in which the monetary exemption was exceeded.

II.         Cost Accounting Standards - Eligibility for Modified Contract Coverage

If the offeror is eligible to use the modified provisions of 48 CFR, Subpart 9903.201-2(b) and elects to do so, the offeror shall indicate by checking the box below.  Checking the box below shall mean that the resultant contract is subject to the Disclosure and Consistency of Cost Accounting Practices clause in lieu of the Cost Accounting Standards clause.

[ ]         The offeror hereby claims an exemption from the Cost Accounting Standards clause under the provisions of 48 CFR, Subpart 9903.201-2(b) and certifies that the offeror is eligible for use of the Disclosure and Consistency of Cost Accounting Practices clause because during the cost accounting period immediately preceding the period in which this proposal was submitted, the offeror received less than $25 million in awards of CAS-covered prime contracts and subcontracts or the offeror did not receive a single CAS-covered award exceeding $1 million.  The offeror further certifies that if such status changes before an award resulting from this proposal, the offeror will advise the Contracting Officer immediately.

Caution:  An offeror may not claim the above eligibility for modified contract coverage if this proposal is expected to result in the award of a CAS-covered contract of $25 million or more or if, during its current cost accounting period, the offeror has been awarded a single CAS-covered prime contract or subcontract of $25 million or more.

III.         Additional Cost Accounting Standards Applicable to Existing Contracts

The offeror shall indicate below whether award of the contemplated contract would, in accordance with subparagraph (a)(3) of the Cost Accounting Standards clause, require a change in established cost accounting practices affecting existing contracts and subcontracts.

[ ] Yes     [ ] No

(End of Provision)

 

ALTERNATE I (APR 1996)

[ ] (5) Certificate of Disclosure Statement Due Date by Educational Institution. 

If the offeror is an educational institution that, under the transition provisions of 48 CFR 9903.202-1(f), is or will be required to submit a Disclosure Statement after receipt of this award, the offeror hereby certifies that (check one and complete):

[ ] (a) A Disclosure Statement filing Due Date of
_____ has been established with the cognizant Federal agency.[ ] (b) The Disclosure Statement will be submitted within the six month period ending _____ months after receipt of this award.

Name and Address of cognizant ACO or Federal Official where Disclosure Statement is to be filed: ____________________________________________________________
(END OF ALTERNATE I)

 


K.5.  CERTIFICATE OF CURRENT COST OR PRICING DATA (FAR 15.406-2)

CERTIFICATE OF CURRENT COST OR PRICING DATA

When cost or pricing data are required, the contracting officer shall require the contractor to execute a Certificate of Current Cost or Pricing Data using the format in this paragraph, and shall include the executed certificate in the contract file.

This is to certify that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, the cost or pricing data (as defined in Section 15.401 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation(FAR) and required under FAR subsection 15.403-4) submitted, either actually or by specific identification, in writing, to the contracting officer or the contracting officer's representative in support of_____* are accurate, complete, and current as of_____**.

This certification includes the cost or pricing data supporting any advance agreements and forward pricing rate agreements between the offeror and the Government that are part of the proposal.

FIRM ____________________

NAME ____________________ Signature____________________   

TITLE  _________________________________

DATE OF EXECUTION***____________________


* Identify the proposal, request for price adjustment, or other submission involved, giving the                 appropriate identifying number (e.g., Request for Proposal number).

** Insert the day, month, and year when price negotiations were concluded and price agreement was reached or, if applicable, an earlier date agreed upon between the parties that is as     close as practicable to the date of agreement on price.

*** Insert the day, month, and year of signing, which should be as close as practicable to the date when the price negotiations were concluded and the contract price agreed to.

 

End of Certificate


K.6.   ENVIRONMENTAL TOBACCO SMOKE

The Public Health Service strongly encourages all grant and contract recipients to provide a smoke-free workplace and to promote the nonuse of all tobacco products.  In addition, Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in certain facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which regular or routine education, library, day care, health care or early childhood development services are provided to children.

CERTIFICATION REGARDING ENVIRONMENTAL TOBACCO SMOKE

Public Law 103-227, also known as the Pro-Children Act of 1994 (Act), requires that smoking not be permitted in any portion of any indoor facility owned or leased or contracted for by an entity and used routinely or regularly for the provision of health, day care, early childhood development services, education or library services to children under the age of 18, if the services are funded by Federal programs either directly or through State or local governments, by Federal grant, contract, loan, or loan guarantee.  The law also applies to children's services that are provided in indoor facilities that are constructed, operated, or maintained with such federal funds.  The law does not apply to children's services provided in private residences; portions of facilities used for inpatient drug or alcohol treatment; service providers whose sole source of applicable Federal funds is Medicare or Medicaid; or facilities where WIC coupons are redeemed.  Failure to comply with the provisions of the law may result in the imposition of a civil monetary penalty of up to $1000 for each violation and/or the imposition of an administrative compliance order on the responsible entity.

By signing this certification, the offeror/contractor certifies that the submitted organization will comply with the requirements of the Act and will not allow smoking within any portion of any indoor facility used for the provision of services for children as defined by the Act.

The submitting organization agrees that it will require that the language of this certification be included in any subawards which contain provisions for children's services and that all subrecipients shall certify accordingly.

Organization:________________________________________________

Signature_________________________ Title_____________________

Date________________________________


K.7 Certification of Filing and Payment of Federal Taxes

As prescribed in 304.1202, "Solicitation Provision," insert the following provision.  If the solicitation is a Request for Quotations, the term "Quoter" may be substituted for "Offeror."

Certification of Filing and Payment of Federal Taxes (March 2008)

(a) The offeror certifies that, to the best of its knowledge and belief:

1)  It has filed all Federal tax returns required during the three years preceding this certification;

2) It has not been convicted of a criminal offense under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; and

3)  It has not been notified of any unpaid Federal tax assessment for which the liability remains unsatisfied, unless the assessment is the subject of an installment agreement or offer in compromise that has been approved by the Internal Revenue Service and is not in default, or the assessment is the subject of a non-frivolous administrative or judicial proceeding.

(b) The signature of the offer is considered to be a certification by the offeror under this provision.

 

______________________________

Name of Offeror

 

______________________________

Signature of authorized individual


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Current as of May 2008

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.

 

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