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Citizens' Forum: Request for Proposals (RFP)

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Amendment 3
Questions and Answers

Question #1: Please characterize the nature of the online conversations and discussions you wish to foster on health related questions: is the intent to create a transparent exchange that is open to the public, or to host more private discussions limited to invited participants or stakeholders?

Answer: We do not use the terms "online conversation" or "online discussion" in the RFP. If this question refers to Subtask 2.5.3, the discussions described are intended for purposes of demonstrating and assessing the methods that the Contractor will develop in this project, and they should be structured to best accomplish these purposes.

Question #2: You list the requirement of a PMI-certified Project Manager on pg. 86 of the RFP. Which specific PMI credentials (ie: PMI-PMP, PgMP) does the Project Manager need to have from the Project Management Institute? Would others without this in the proposal be considered if they can demonstrate the ability to do the work? Also, can we propose a PM that's certified after we are awarded a contract?

Answer: AHRQ requires a PMI-PMP certified Project Manager because of the project's complexity and size as well as the reporting requirements. It is acceptable to propose an uncertified Project Manager. However, the Offerer must then include a plan describing how the Project Manager will obtain PMI-PMP certification if the contract is awarded.

Question #3: Subtask 2.2: Bullet 2 in this subtask requests cost information about web solutions. Should that be in technical proposal or business proposal?

Answer: The Offeror should include in the technical proposal an outline of web technology to be used in their proposed approach. The conceptualization of the approach and the knowledge demonstrated by the Offeror in presenting the component of the technical proposal will be assessed by the reviewers. Costs associated with developing this approach should be detailed specifically in the cost proposal. Since this Contract will be a firm fixed price, the costs presented in the cost proposal will be part of the negotiated agreement if the contract is awarded to the Offeror.

Question #4: Brief biographic sketches or CVs (less than ten pages in length) providing the relevant qualifications necessary for this effort are only required for key personnel. Key personnel noted include Project Director and PMI Certified Project Manager—Are other key personnel required in the RFP?

Answer: CVs for other personnel are not required. However, please include biosketches of other personnel to document the expertise and skills of each individual. This documentation will help the reviewers assess the capabilities of the proposed staff.

Question #5: Are there any limitations in terms of technologies that we should be aware of? (e.g: are only those technologies that currently have TOS agreement with HHS allowed?)

Answer: Given the guidance (go to http://newmedia.hhs.gov/resources/general_guidance/) from the Government CIO/CTO on cloud computing, open government, social networking, and the requirements that address all Federal information resources, AHRQ wants to ensure that any proposals are in line with enterprise architecture, accessibility, privacy, and security concerns. Any solutions suggested will need to meet those requirements. Potential offerors can find vetted sources at: http://www.apps.gov

For example, the Agency uses RightNow Technologies as our customer relationship management system and it is deployed from a government hosting environment that has already been through the certification and accreditation process.

In addition, as stated in the RFP, any technologies or resulting items must be 508 compliant and follow AHRQ Publishing and Communications Guidelines (http://www.ahrq.gov/news/pubcomguide/pcguide2.htm).

Question #6: For any online educational components, is AHRQ currently employing a prescribed CMI (Computer Managed Instruction) or LMS (Learning Management Systems) platform?

Answer: While we do not have a prescribed CMI or LMS platform, any proposed solution would have to address all of the requirements of a Federal information resource.

Question #7: Page 10-11 Expert Consultation. The RFP does not state specifically state whether these external experts are paid or volunteer. Does the government consider these to be paid or volunteer requirements? Does the government have a preferred honoraria scale for patient, caregiver and consumer group representation on the TEP's?

Answer: AHRQ follows the NIH reimbursement rate for honorarium of $200 per day plus hotel and travel expenses. For budgetary purposes you may use the following.

FY 09 FLAT REIMBURSEMENT RATES

Non-local reviewer

  • One day meeting—$475 ($200 honorarium, $80 meals, $195 ground transportation including luggage fees)
  • Two day meeting—$755 ($400 honorarium, $160 meals, $195 ground transportation including luggage fees)

Local reviewer (does not stay in hotel, drives each day)

  • One day meeting—$320 ($200 honorarium, $45 meals, $75 ground transportation)
  • Two day meeting—$640 ($400 honorarium, $90 meals, $150 ground transportation)

Local reviewer (stays in hotel, drives once, roundtrip)

  • One day meeting—$320 ($200 honorarium, $45 meals, $75 ground transportation)
  • Two day meeting—$565 ($400 honorarium, $90 meals, $75 ground transportation)

Mail Reviews (does not include reimbursement for meals (i.e. meals $80.00), or flat rate (i.e. $195.00) for ground transportation.

  • Honorarium for a mail review is $200.00 per day

Telephone Conference Reviews

  • Honorarium for telephone conference reviews is $200.00 per day

Note: Based on unusual circumstances, an extra lodging night may be required. In those circumstances, lodging costs will be reimbursed.

Question #8: Subtask 2.5.3 indicates that honoraria will be provided participants—for budgeting purposes, what should be considered for each participant?

Answer: Please see answer for #3.

Question #9: Please clarify that IT hardware/software does not include fees associated with stakeholder research management or social media tools that might be proposed. P3; #11

Answer: Fees associated with stakeholder research management or social media tools proposed should not be included in the budget proposal because any proposed IT hardware, software, peripherals, and licensing fees for software-as-a-service applications have to be centrally approved and authorized for procurement through AHRQ's IT department. Any licensing agreements have to be between the Agency and the vendor, and therefore, contractors cannot sign agreements for the Agency and any information system must be reviewed and approved for operation. IT infrastructure may be considered as government owned, but contractor operated. We would also have to have the product accessibility template completed for any solution proposed as part of the market analysis and due diligence process: http://www.hhs.gov/od/vendors/index.html.

Question #10: For costing purposes, could AHRQ elaborate on the scope of work requirements for tasks three and four? On page 27, subtask 3.6 it is stated that the framework may involve interactions with current EHCP components including SRC, EC, EPC and DEcIDE staff centers. On page 29, subtask 4.1—the Contractor shall include work in both tasks with all components and the extent that stakeholder engagement shall include meetings and engagement opportunities with each and all entities that are current EHCP components.

Answer: All components of the EHC Program are expected to collaborate when necessary to produce the most efficient processes and the most successful products. Interactions may include regular and ad hoc conference calls as well as (usually biennial) in-person meetings for the both the EPCs and DEcIDEs.

Question #11: How should inconsistencies be handled...like:

a.) Subtask 3.6 (p. 27) in the scope of work is omitted from the technical instructions on p. 83.

Answer: Technical instructions for Subtask 3.6 were explicitly omitted because the development of the framework and methods is dependent on the work performed and the information gathered in Subtasks 3.1 through 3.5. However, the Offeror may propose how they will use that work and information to develop a Framework and Methods document.

b.) Subtask 5.1 (p. 33) indicates the Stakeholder Group will meet four times per year, while the delivery schedule (p. 46—subtask 5.1) indicates meeting only 3 times per year.

Answer: This is an error. Subtask 5.1 should read "The Group at large is expected to meet in person three to four times in each year of the contract..." Please budget for four meetings.

c.) Task 6 (p. 37) is omitted from the technical instructions.

Answer: This was not an oversight Project Management should be described under L.8 Part D. AHRQ did not want to create undue burden in asking for duplicate information to be described in Parts C and D.

Question #12: Can AHRQ provide additional detail as to what they expect in conduct of Task 5.5, Evaluate the EHC Stakeholder Group Impact and Support? Does AHRQ anticipate the need for outside data to be collected to complete this task?

Answer: It is up to the Offeror to propose an evaluation strategy to be executed throughout the Stakeholder Group activities and to determine whether outside data should be collected to fully complete the task.

Question #13: The RFP specifically prohibits reimbursement of foreign travel. However, AHRQ has stated elsewhere that foreign expertise is relevant to the study. Can the study pay for these experts to attend TEP and other advisory meetings in the US?

Answer: Please refer to pages 3-4, sections B.4a.(6).

Question #14: Are there tasks associated with the Option Years? Should these be discussed in the response?

Answer: The option to carry out subtask 3.7 may be exercised at the discretion of AHRQ during the contract period through a contract modification if time permits or during option years. A budget will be negotiated at the time the tasks are identified. Discussion of these tasks is not required because identification of activities and task will not occur until after the framework and methods have been developed.

Question #15: The RFP states that for any proposed technology solution the Contractor must also describe associated costs. But you do not want cost information in the technical proposal. Please be clear on which you want in which part of the proposal for this element.

Answer: The Offeror should include in the technical proposal an outline of web technology to be used in their proposed approach. The conceptualization of the approach and the knowledge demonstrated by the Offeror in presenting the component of the technical proposal will be assessed by the reviewers. Costs associated with developing this approach should be detailed specifically in the cost proposal. Since this Contract will be a firm fixed price, the costs presented in the cost proposal will be part of the negotiated agreement if the contract is awarded to the Offeror.

Question #16: Please give examples of the kind of materials you deem to be acceptable evidence of the contractor's ability to obtain equipment, facilities and personal resources necessary to perform the requirements of this project.

Answer: The burden of proof of ability, resources and the ability to obtain or upgrade these is the responsibility of the offeror and they can do that in any way they deem would be sufficient. The government cannot recommend in this area, should the recommendation be deemed to be all-inclusive or otherwise totally sufficient—when, in effect, it may not be.

Question #17: The EPCs were created to conduct systematic literature reviews. What role will they play in the literature reviews included in the tasks for work done from this RFP?

Answer: The Contractor is responsible for all tasks in the RFP. However, all components of the EHC Program, including the EPCs, DEcIDEs, and the Citizens' Forum Contractors are expected to collaborate when necessary.

Question #18: The DECIDE Networks and the CERTs have access to patients and providers. What role will they be able to fulfill in terms of recruiting individuals to take part in various activities under this contract?

Answer: The Contractor is responsible for all tasks in the RFP. However, all components of the EHC Program, including the EPCs, DEcIDEs, and the Citizens' Forum Contractors are expected to collaborate when necessary.

Current as of March 23, 2010

 

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