Skip Navigation U.S. Department of Health and Human Services www.hhs.gov
Agency for Healthcare Research Quality www.ahrq.gov
Archive print banner
RFP AHRQ-10-10006 DEcIDE-2 (Developing Evidence to Inform Decisions about Effectiveness Research-2)

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: https://info.ahrq.gov. Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to www.ahrq.gov for current information.

Amendment 2

Issued: March 29, 2010

Responses to Questions Regarding the DEcIDE-2 Solicitation

1. For the DEcIDE-2 Network, why has the number of participating contractors been reduced to between 6-10?

The number of DEcIDE-2 contractors is an estimate and based on the expected needs of the Effective Health Care program.

2. Besides CMS, which other federal agencies does AHRQ anticipate will make use of the DEcIDE 2 Network?

From 2005 to 2010, DEcIDE-1 Network worked with CDC, CMS, FDA, NIH, and VHA on various research and methods projects.  AHRQ maintains ongoing communication with these and other federal agencies, so AHRQ may arrange collaborative projects through the DEcIDE-2 Network and other federal agencies.  However, collaborations must fit the scope of work of the DEcIDE-2 master task order contract.

3. Does the maximum amount of $4 million that may be awarded over the 3 year period inclusive of possible TOs from other federal agencies, besides AHRQ?

NOTE: H.14 TASK ORDER SELECTION CRITERIA AND PROCEDURES is revised by this amendment to state:

"The maximum total amount to be awarded over the three year period is estimated at $10,000,000."

Technically, other federal agencies do not issue task orders to DEcIDE-2.  However, under certain conditions, AHRQ, the DHHS Office of the Secretary, and other agencies may agree to work together on a project that is conducted through the DEcIDE-2 program.  The $10 million that may be awarded over the 3 year period includes task orders that are funded through these types of agreements with other federal agencies.  This amount is an estimate and will depend upon annual Congressional appropriations.  All DEcIDE task orders will be issued by an AHRQ Contracting Officer

4. Could you explain further how you anticipate Task Orders to be distributed in the multi-center consortia:

  •   Will TOs be distributed individually to contractors who may or may not be participating in a multi-center consortium where the consortium might be a bidder?

    Soon after the DEcIDE-2 master task order contracts are awarded, it is anticipated that a request for task order proposal (i.e., an RFTO) will be issued for multi-center consortia in some clinical areas as well as methods combined with analytic work.  DEcIDE-2 contractors will need to submit a proposal and cost estimate in response to that RFTO and be competitively selected to receive one or more consortia task orders.  See H.14 Task Order Selection Criteria and Procedures for details

  •   Will TOs related to a disease area such as diabetes be distributed only to that consortium?

    The DEcIDE-2 master contract specifies certain conditions in which AHRQ may issue a task order to a specific contractor or to a subset of the DEcIDE-2 contractors.   Depending upon AHRQ's need (as described in an RFTO's scope of work) and these master contract terms, a new task order may be issued specifically to a DEcIDE-2 center(s) or it may be available for proposing by all DEcIDE-2 centers.

5. Is it anticipated that all prospective observational and interventional studies will be done via the multi-center consortia?

No, not all projects will be done through the consortia structure.

6. The RFP emphasizes at several points the enabling provisions of MMA Section 1013.  Could you address AHRQ's level of interest in and the relevance of data on privately insured populations and the uninsured to DEcIDE studies?

In general, all U.S. populations are of interest and relevant to DEcIDE-2 studies, including the privately insured and the uninsured.  Research will prioritize studies that are relevant to beneficiaries of Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP programs but other populations are of interest to AHRQ.  In some cases, requests for specific task order proposals may specify an interest in specific populations. 

7. Please discuss further the role of stakeholders and the contractors' role with regard to stakeholders.  For example, what will be the contractor role in the process by which stakeholder input generates TOs? Will all contractors have an opportunity to shape how input from stakeholders managed by one contractor may result in TOs?

The role of stakeholders and the contractors' role with stakeholders will vary depending on the scope of work of a specific task order.  AHRQ plans to establish a Citizen's Forum and support stakeholder outreach as part the Effective Health Care program. 

8. L.10 (page 86) states that "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."  However, L.10.5(e) Key Personnel (2nd paragraph) states that "The offeror shall submit NIH biosketches or CV's for personnel who may be utilized during this contract period.  Identified individuals should be readily available for assignment to requirements which may arise."   Should the proposal only include CVs/biosketches for key personnel or individuals who may be used during the contract period?

Please submit biosketches for key personnel.

9. Can you clarify what is meant by "Project Management Plans and Local Resources" In Section M.C.4 on page 104?

This means the resources, capacity, and demonstrated ability to develop and implement project management plans for complex research projects.

10. Page one of the solicitation lists 3 volumes to be submitted:  Technical Proposal, Past Performance Information, and Business Proposal. However, it appears that Sections L.9.b and L.12 require a 4th volume:  a separate Small Disadvantaged Business Participation Plan.  L.14 mentions both a Small Business Participation Plan (required in the Business Proposal) AND a Small Disadvantaged Business Participation Plan.  Please clarify if we are to submit three volumes or four, and if there are two separate plans:  one for small businesses and one for small disadvantages businesses.

The Small Disadvantaged Business Participation Plan is SEPARATE from the Small Business Subcontracting Plan and should be a separate submission. (The use of the term Small Business Participation Plan was incorrect, the intention was the Small Disadvantaged Business Participation Plan)

NOTE: The cover letter of the RFP is revised to state and the Section L.10, L.11, L.12 and L.13 are revised or repeated for clarity as set forth below, four volumes should be submitted:

  Offerors shall submit the following:

  1. Technical Proposal (See Section L.10) (Original and 12 copies and 2 CDs)
  2. Past Performance Information (See Section L.11) (Original and 2 (not 5) copies.
  3. Small Disadvantaged Business Participation Plan (See Section L.12) (Original and 2 copies)
  4. Business Proposal (See Section L.13) (Original and 5 copies plus 2 copies on CD).  The Small Business Subcontracting Plan is part of the Business Proposal.

11. Past Performance (Section L.11) asks for the last 5 completed contracts/subcontracts and all current contracts/subcontracts. We assume that only relevant current contracts, not all should be included?  

Yes, please only include relevant contracts. 

12. Is the Executive Summary included in the Technical Proposal 100 page limit?

Yes. 

13. Section L.13 Business Proposal Instruction (pg 96), states what shall be included in the business proposal and it doesn't mention a Small Business Subcontracting Plan. On page 97 it states all offerors will be require to submit a subcontracting plan, please clarify if a Small Business Subcontracting Plan is required within the Business Proposal or as a separate volume.

The Small Business Subcontracting Plan is required as part of the Business Proposal. Section L.13 Business Proposal Instructions, paragraph B. Small Business Subcontracting Plan describes the requirement for the plan

14. AHRQ describes this as "a full and open competition and not limited to existing DEcIDE research centers" on page 8 but also lists "all DEcIDE-1 and DEcIDE-2 research centers" as potential future collaborators. Will none, some or all of the existing DEcIDE-1 research centers be required to re-compete under this RFA, and if some, how many and which?

The performance period for some DEcIDE-1 task orders will overlap with the DEcIDE-2 performance period.  For example, some DEcIDE-1 contracts will have 3 year task orders funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Because of the overlapping period of performance, collaborations are expected between the DEcIDE-1 and DEcIDE-2 contractors. 

DEcIDE-2 is a full and open competition.   DEcIDE-2 is a different contract than DEcIDE-1, but both will operate under the DEcIDE Network and the AHRQ Effective Health Care program.  If an institution is interested in receiving a DEcIDE-2 contract, it must submit an appropriate proposal by the due date for proposals AND be selected for a DEcIDE-2 award.   If a DEcIDE-2 proposal is not submitted by the deadline, the institution will not be considered for a DEcIDE-2 contract and it can not propose on DEcIDE-2 requests for task order proposals (RFTO's).

15. AHRQ says it will award 6-10 contracts. Does that mean it will award contracts to 6-10 proposed teams?

It is estimated that six to ten institutions or organizations will be awarded the Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) task order contract for DEcIDE-2. 

16. Our research team does not focus on any priority condition, per se, but our patient population is an ideal target because patients have multiple comorbid conditions, several of which are on the priority list.  Does that satisfy the requirement to provide evidence of experience in health care research in one or more of the 14 priority conditions?  Relatedly, would proposed comparative effectiveness studies in this patient population qualify as research in AHRQ priority conditions, for the purposes of this application?

Evidence of experience in health care research should be provided through publications and other scholarly activities.  This evidence should demonstrate that your team has the ability to carry out comparative effectiveness research that is relevant to one or more of the 14 priority conditions.  Patient populations who are affected by multiple comorbid conditions are relevant to this solicitation.

17. Under Key Personnel, AHRQ says the PI "shall have ... a minimum of 8 years' experience in the development, implementation, and dissemination of research findings." Would a proposed PI who does not meet the 8 year minimum be acceptable if the proposal made clear that the candidate was well qualified to lead the project?

No, the PI shall have 8 years of research experience.  The solicitation seeks an experienced leader who is in a position within his or her organization to quickly bring together and manage diverse project teams to carry out complex projects.  The PI should be committed to directing the DEcIDE research center for the next three years.  

18. The RFP asks offerors to propose up to four comparative effectiveness studies (page 86) and two research methods projects (page 87).  Can offerors propose studies and projects that have been presented in grant applications that currently are pending review?

No, the proposed studies should be new ideas that have not been submitted for grant or contract funding.

19. On page 88, AHRQ requires offerors to obtain Letters of Intent from consultants. Are those letters equivalent to letters of commitment/support, as opposed to the Letters of Intent that are due by April 12?

Yes, these are letters of commitment and support, which is different than the April 12 letter of intent.  The April 12 letter is a statement of the institution's intent to submit a proposal for the DEcIDE-2 solicitation.

20. Can the three examples required under Organizational and Corporate Experience (d3) on page 88 be among the 20 original projects listed under d2 if they meet all other required criteria?

Yes.

21. The offeror is asked to provide percentage of total time each key/core personnel will be committed to the project but as yet we have no project from which to determine effort.  Should we estimate effort based on past experience?  If not, how should we calculate effort?

Please indicate the minimum and maximum (i.e., the range) of time each key personnel will be available to work in the first year of the contract.

22. For submissions:

  1. For the technical proposal, are offerors required to submit the original and 12 copies, as stated on page 1, or 12 printed copies and 2 CDs, as stated on page 84?

    Please submit the original plus 12 printed copies and 2 CDs or 2 USB drives.

  2. For Past Performances, are offerors required to submit the original and 2 copies, as stated on page 1, or the original and 5 copies, as stated on page 92?

    Please submit the original plus 5 copies.

  3. For the business proposal, are offerors required to submit the original and 5 copies, as stated on page 1, or the original, 5 copies and 2 CDs, as stated on page 94?

    Please submit the original plus12 printed copies and 2 CDs or 2 USB drives.

23. Can AHRQ please clarify whether the technical proposal is limited to 100 pages, or whether 100 pages is preferred but is not a maximum.

The technical proposal is limited to 100 pages maximum.

24. AHRQ says that "the maximum total amount over the three year period is estimated at $4,000.000."  Does the estimated $4 million cap apply to a research center, or individual organizations within a DEcIDE research center?

The maximum total amount is now $10,000,000.  The $10,000,000 estimate applies to the total amount received to the research center, including any subcontractors. See response to #3 above for change in maximum to $10,000,000. See FAR 16.5 for additional information.  

25. L.13 Section A #4 requests that the offeror complete Appendix 3 Project Sample Format for Task Order Proposal.  As there is no specific Sample Task Order request identified in the Technical specifications, can you provide further clarification on what is required on this form?

Provide labor rates or ranges for each category of labor, appropriate indirect rates and proposed profit/fee for a "sample task order" estimated at 2,500 labor hours. The labor hours include professional, non professional and subcontract hours. Use each of the labor categories, labor mix is your choice.

26. On Page 90 of the Key Personnel section:  For the technical proposal on the key personnel section descriptions of staff, are we expected to describe each staff member from Class I-Class IV in detail or only key personnel?  Are CV/resumes for non key sufficient?  Please explain

Please describe key personnel.  Please submit NIH biosketches or CV's for key personnel and non key personnel.

27. We have multiple questions regarding section H.13 AHRQ application and system development requirements:

  1. This section mentions software called Rational Requisite Pro, is this software we must buy and install on the computers at our institution?

    No, Rational Requisite Pro does not need to be purchased and installed unless specifically requested as requirement of a task order that is issued.

  2. If we do not need to purchase the software, is the requirement then that we must be capable of producing documents that are compatible with this software? How would this be done? Is it by uploading material to a AHRQ web based version of the software?

    Production and handling of documents in Rational Requisite Pro will be specified, if needed, in specific task orders.

  3. Do we need to purchase MS Project? If so, is there a specific version that we need to use?

    Although MS Project does not need to be purchased unless specified in a request for task order proposals (RFTO's), it is anticipated that the first round of RFTO's will request a project plan submitted in MS Project 2007.

  4. d. How do Rational Requisite Pro and MS Project differ in terms of how we are expected to use them for this project?

    MS Project will be used for project management planning.  Contractors may be asked to submit a project management plan in response to a task order proposal request (ie an RFTO) using an electronic template in MS Project 2007 format.  Rational Requisite Pro is a suite of tools that are primarily used for software development.  If software is developed as part of a task order, AHRQ may request the use of a certain software language like SAS or a certain software package like Rational Requisite Pro.

  5. Table 1.1 lists several documents and their required formats. Where two formats are listed, do we need to submit the documents in both formats, or just one of them?

    The document format for submission will be specified in the request for task order proposals.  In general, most documents are requested in MS Word 2003 format.

  6. For the documents listed in table 1.1, sample documents and templates are supposed to be available for these. Where can we find these documents?

    Templates and supporting sample documents will be provided with task order proposal requests (RFTO's) based on the scope of work that is requested.

  7. What is the "Systems Requirements Document" supposed to be for?

    This requirement generally only applies to a task order request in which software is developed.  In those cases, this document explains the computer systems requirements that are needed for the software to execute.  Page 48 of the DEcIDE-2 solicitation explains the systems requirements document.

  8. What is the "Requirements Traceability Matrix"? Is this just a table used to track various documents, or is it a part of the Rational Requisite software program?

    This requirement generally only applies to a task order request in which software is developed.  Page 48 of the DEcIDE-2 solicitation explains the systems requirements document.

  9. Is the purpose of the remainder of this section (pgs 49-56) to describe the software program Rational Requisite Pro in detail, or are these sections of a document we are supposed to put together describing our organizational system for the project?

    The reminder of this section is to provide requirements for software development in the event software is created as part of a DEcIDE-2 task order.  In general, software is not expected to be created in the DEcIDE-2 program, but this text is standard for all of its new AHRQ contracts.  Offerors should be aware of these requirements in the event software is developed as part of a task order.

  10.   Several parts of section H.13 mention websites. Are we required to create a website for managing this project?

    While it is not anticipated that website creation will be a requirement for any task order, many deliverables will be publicly posted on AHRQ's website and contractors are required to follow government regulations for these postings. 

  11.    k. What level of detail as well as types of documents from this section (section H.13) should we include in the application for this project?

       See the responses above

28. What kind of formatting should be used for the application (proposal), such as font size and spacing (double vs. single)?

Per the RFP, "The technical proposal shall not exceed 100 pages not including biographic sketches, with no less than an 11 point font, double-spaced (tables, organizational charts, and similar materials need not be double-spaced, so long as they are legible)."

29. Do biosketches/CV's count towards the page limit, or are they to be included as separate attachments?

Biosketches/CV's do not count toward the page limit and should be included as separate attachments.

30. Past Performance: could we include more than 5 contracts/subcontracts?  Do we need this information for the prime site only or all subcontract sites?

Please list the last five (5) relevant contracts and subcontracts completed during the past three years and all contracts and subcontracts currently in process.  This information is not requested for proposed subcontract sites.

31. Are the Small Business Subcontract Plan and/or Small Disadvantaged Business Participation Plan required at the time of proposal submission?

Yes. The Small Business Subcontract Plan shall be part of the Business Proposal, see Section l.13 (original and 5 copies plus 2 copies on CD.) The Small Disadvantaged Business Participation Plan (Section L.12) shall be submitted in an original and 2 copies.

32. Do all sub-contract sites need to complete representations & certifications?

Yes

33. Can we assume that if the DEcIDE-2 contract is awarded, our first few task orders will be related to the comparative effectiveness studies and research methods projects we propose?

The studies and methods projects that are proposed should be ones that the offeror is prepared to do.  However, the pool of topics for the first round of task orders is wider and will not be limited to just those that are proposed in the technical proposals.

34. Please clarify what AHRQ would like to see in the sample Task Order.

Provide labor rates or ranges for each category of labor, appropriate indirect rates and proposed profit/fee.  The purpose is to verify the rates and the indirect rates.  Offerors are supposed to provide copies of their indirect cost rate agreement in the cost proposal.

35. Page 45.  Do the 'AHRQ application and system development requirements' apply only to software products that will be used by AHRQ or apply as well to software products that will be public use?

Both

36. Page 88 b 3: The text specifically asks about capacity to participate in consortia, but may applicants also discuss their experience in existing consortia?

Yes, offerors may discuss experience with working in existing research consortia, including AHRQ's consortia and other multicenter research initiatives.   Please clearly explain your experience and do not assume proposal reviewers will be familiar with program-specific terms, operations, and products.

37. Page 94 L11:  The RFA (RFP) asks for 'the last 5 contracts and subcontracts..."

Would we be correct to assume that AHRQ is not asking for past performance on contracts or subcontracts that are distant from the content area of comparative effectiveness research?  We would like to assume that the Agency is interested in 'relevant' contracts and subcontracts.

Yes, as noted in answer 11 above, please only include relevant contracts. 

38. Some of our subcontracts have, as a prime contractor, an organization with which we anticipate competing for DEcIDE funding.  We would prefer not place that organization in a conflicted situation.

It is unclear what question is asked with this statement.  It is not prohibited for an organization to subcontract with different offerors.

39. Some our current relevant contracts have only been active for a few months, it may be difficult for the project officer to report on progress.   Do you want us to send performance evaluation to them as well?  Is the Agency interested in all current contracts or only those relevant to CER?

It is up to the offeror to determine who to send performance evaluations. 

As noted in answer 11 above, please only include contracts relevant to the scope of work in the solicitation.

40. Pages 96-97 L13:  Should the sample budget (Appendix 3) in the cost proposal be tied to one of the hypothetical tasks shown in the proposal?

No

41.  Pg. 1: What is the acceptable form of certification for unloaded labor rates?

Original documentation, payroll registers or copies of check stubs.

42.  Pg. 5:  Is there a preference for using a range of rates vs. a blended rate or the highest rate for each labor category?

A range of rates is requested

43.  Pg. 15:   What is the expected minimum percent of effort of the Principal Investigator? Deputy Principal Investigator (if one is named)? 

There is no expected minimum effort of the PI or Deputy PI.

44. Pgs. 34-35:  Please verify that indirect costs may be invoiced, subject to negotiation, verification and allowability, with these contracts. 

Yes, subject to negotiated rate agreements and allowability.

45. Pg. 89: Please clarify the meaning of "Letter of Intent". Would this be the same as a "Letter of Support" for the project?  The directions state a "letter of intent" should be provided from all consultants. Should this letter also be provided from all subcontractors?

See answer to #19 above

46. RE: Biosketches or CVs,: Should Biosketches or CVs be provided for all personnel named in the proposal? There are several references to and requests for Biosketches/CVs. Please clarify (SEE references from pages 86, 90, and 91 below).

See answer to #8 and #26 above.

Pg. 86:  Brief biographic sketches or CVS (less than 10 pgs in length) are only required for key personnel.

See answer to #8 and #26 above (Biosketches for key personnel).

Pg. 90, section e., Key Personnel-Section refers to key scientific, technical, and administrative personnel. Please verify that Biosketches or CVs should be included for the non-scientific personnel.

See answer to #8 and #26 above.

Pg. 91: The offeror shall submit NIH Biosketches or CV's for personnel who may be utilized during this contract period.

Please provide documentation to describe:

Key Scientific and Technical Personnel (limit CVs to 2-3 pages for non-scientific personnel).

See answer to #8 and #26 above.

47. RE: Past Performance: Please clarify the directions regarding the completion of Past Performance Questionnaires.

Should a Past Performance Questionnaire be completed by every contracting organization listed in item (1) below, including all contracts and subcontracts currently in process?  There could be hundreds currently in process. (SEE reference from page 94-95 below)

Yes, as noted in answer 11 above, please only include relevant contracts. 

48. Page 1 states that the offerors must submit the following three elements: A) Technical Proposal; B) Past Performance Info; C) Business Proposal. This conflicts with page 84 (L9.b) in which four elements are listed: I) Technical Proposal; II) Past Performance Info; III) Small Disadvantaged Business Participation Plan; IV) Business Proposal. Which sections are required?

  The Small Disadvantaged Business Participation Plan is SEPARATE from the Small Business Subcontracting Plan and should be a separate submission.

NOTE: The cover letter of the RFP is revised to state and the Section L.10, L.11, L.12 and L.13 are revised or repeated for clarity as set forth below:

  Offerors shall submit the following:

E. TechnicalProposal (See Section L.10) (Original and 12 copies and 2 CDs)
F. Past Performance Information (See Section L.11) (Original and 2 (not 5) copies.
G. Small Disadvantaged Business Participation Plan (See Section L.12) (Original and 2 copies)
H. Business Proposal (See Section L.13) (Original and 5 copies plus 2 copies on CD).  The Small Business Subcontracting Plan is part of the Business Proposal.

49. Page 91 (L10.5.e.2c) states that respondents should include references to all publications for key/core scientific and technical personnel.  Does AHRQ indeed wish to have all references, or would references within a 4-page biosketch suffice?

Offerors may submit all references for key personnel or the 4-page biosketch.

50. Page 96 (L12.A) items 3 and 4 state that the respondent should describe "the complexity and variety of the work SDB concerns are to perform" and "realism for the use of SDB in this proposal". How can this be done if we do not know what the specific task order work will be? Furthermore, item 6 states that the respondent should describe "targets expressed as dollars and percentage of total contract value for each participating SDB". How than this be done given the fact that no work is being proposed in this contract?

The solicitation describes the types of information that should be provided in the Small Disadvantaged Business Participation Plan. The purpose is for the offeror to demonstrate its ability in the past as well as forecasted to future requirements on how the small disadvantaged businesses will be utilized.

51. Page 97 (L13.A.4) states that the respondent should "complete Appendix 3". Should only direct labor and overhead sections be completed? How should we complete the other direct cost and travel sections given that there is no sample task order?

Yes, only direct labor and indirects with estimated profit/fee, if applicable.

52. Page 97 (L13.B). Do we need to respond to this section or is this relevant to future DEcIDE-2 task orders only? In the absence of other direct costs and travel from the sample budget, how would we calculate a small business subcontracting plan?

See response to #25 and #51 above

53. Is there a preferred size/scope for the 4 comparative effectiveness studies and the 2 research methods projects?

It is suggested (but not required) that these are 3 to 5 pages in length.

54. Section L.13 Business Proposal Instructions a.4 instructs offerors to 'Complete Appendix 3 Project Sample Format for Task Order Proposal - Fill in the rate structure and associated indirects and fee if applicable and total cost for a sample task order proposal.'  Would you please provide more detail as to what is expected here?  Are we to propose a single hypothetical project budget using the sample budget format or does AHRQ want individual budgets for each of the 4 comparative effectiveness studies and the 2 research methods projects proposed in the technical proposal?

See response to #25 and #51 above.

55. The RFP states under section  H.1(b)  Release and Use - Requirements related to confidentiality and quality that '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.  AHRQ will, within 6 months of the receipt of any proposed publication, presentation, or any other disclosure of materials derived from information collected or produced for this contract, use best effort to review the proposed report, presentation, or other text...'  Would AHRQ consider a shorter review period such as 2 months?

In practice, the review period is usually much shorter but contractually we will not change the text.

56. Under section L.11 Past Performance Information, the RFP instructs offerors to submit a list of five completed projects and 'all contracts and subcontracts currently in process.'  Does AHRQ intend all current contracts to mean all those underway in our Division, for those specific faculty named in the proposal or those relevant to the work being proposed for this specific RFP?

Please provide current contracts for the members of the key personnel that are relevant to the DEcIDE-2 scope of work.

57. A key instrument for DEcIDE are the multi-center research consortia. Consortia members will likely be assembled to span the range of specific capabilities required to carry out desired CER activities. Therefore, do offerors responding to this RFP need to demonstrate the ability to carry out all five activities listed on page 10 of the RFP to be eligible for consideration as a DEcIDE-2 research center?

Offerors should explain how their research team will be able to contribute to the five activities listed, if they were part of the DEcIDE-2 Network.

58. Following the same argument as in question 1 above, do offerors responding to this RFP need to demonstrate expertise in all 14 2008-current MMA priority conditions to be eligible for consideration as a DEcIDE-2 research center?

Offerors should explain how their research team can contribute to the clinical and behavioral science expertise of the DEcIDE-2 Network.

59. The Government in Article H. 14, TASK ORDER SELECTION CRITERIA AND PROCEDURES, and in Article L.4, TYPE OF CONTRACT, states that task orders will normally be of the cost-reimbursement, completion type. In Article H.14, however, the Government also states that "[t]ask Orders may be negotiated using any pricing basis under FAR 16, including firm fixed price or performance-based cost plus award fee basis."

  1. Under solicitations for cost reimbursement type awards, and assuming that its proposal is otherwise the apparently successful offer, may a for-profit prime contractor propose, and receive awards that include, profit or fee?

    Yes

  2. Under solicitations for cost reimbursement type awards, and assuming the team of which it is a part submits the otherwise apparently successful offer, may a for-profit firm that is subcontracting to a non-profit organization propose and earn profit or fee under its subcontract?

    The non profit organization could earn profit or fee, if it is organized to earn profit or fee.

  3. Under solicitations for cost reimbursement type awards, and assuming the team of which it is a part submits the otherwise apparently successful offer, may a for-profit firm that is subcontracting to a for-profit organization that has decided to forego profit/fee, propose and earn profit/fee under its subcontract?

    The question is confusing, profit/ fee will be negotiated on each task order, including the proposed profit/ fee for any subcontractors proposed.

60. Referring to question 3 above, is it possible for respondents to negotiate a particular pricing basis under FAR 16 for the IDIQ contract, that would be applied to all TOs?

The labor rate ranges for each labor category for each year of the contract will be negotiated for the IDIQ contract to be used for specific task orders proposed. Other cost elements will be proposed by the contractors based on the request for task order proposal. Each task order will be negotiated on the basis of the proposed cost and technical response.

61. The instructions for Past Performance Information (L.11) (1) on page 94 of the RFP states that the Offeror and major subs are to submit a list of the last 5 completed contracts completed during the past three years and all contracts currently in process.  

a)   Given that the total number of completed and current contracts could be numerous, we ask if the government would consider having the Offeror submit evaluation questionnaires for only the 5 completed contracts.

b) Are major subcontractors also required to send evaluation questionnaires to their clients?

AHRQ will accept Past Performance Questionnaires from five (5) of the offeror's clients for completed contracts that are RELEVANT to the DEcIDE-2 Network RFP.  Offerors are not required to submit Past Performance Questionnaires from clients for proposed major subcontractors.

62. We assume that the instructions in (L.11) (1) on page 94 of the RFP that read "all contracts and subcontracts currently in process" means  "all relevant contracts and subcontracts currently in process" .  Is this assumption correct?

   Yes, this means contracts that are relevant to the scope of work for DEcIDE-2.

63. Per FAR 3.1004, Contract Clauses, section (a), FAR 52.203-13, Contractor Code of Business Ethics and Conduct and FAR 52.203-14, Display of Hotline Poster(s) do not apply if the awarded contract is not in excess of $5m.  Does AHRQ anticipate that all contracts awarded for DEcIDE-2 will exceed this threshold?

No, these clauses are hereby deleted.

64.   Will AHRQ be providing Hotline Posters as per FAR 52.203-14?

See response to #7 above

65.   In Section C, Statement of Work, the last sentence of the first paragraph states that "none of the task orders awarded under the IDIQ contracts will be subject to ARRA funding and reporting requirements."  FAR 52.203-15, Whistleblower Protections Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is included in Section I, but (per FAR 3.907-7) this clause only applies to contracts funded with Recovery Act money.  Is this contract being supported in part or in whole by ARRA funding?

No, this contract is not being supported by ARRA funding. FAR 52.203-15 Whistleblower Protections Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is deleted from Section I.

66. Section I includes FAR 52.222-39, but lists the FAR as "Reserved."  What is AHRQ requiring here?

The entire entry in Section I is deleted, this was a typo

67.   Section I includes FAR 52.245-5, Government Property (Cost Reimbursement, Time-and-Material, or Labor-Hour Contract) (MAY 2004), but this clause is no longer included in the FAR.

This clause is deleted from Section I

68.  Past Performance Information (Section L.11)

(1)The RFP asks for past performance information regarding contracts and subcontracts completed during the last three years and all contracts and subcontracts currently in process. As a current DEcIDE Network Contractor, should we treat each Task Order awarded as a separate item and ask the Task Order Officer for each one to complete a past performance questionnaire, or would the DEcIDE contract represent a single instance for this part of the proposal? If the latter, should we ask our Contract Officer or the Program Officer to complete the questionnaire?

(3) For organizations that work with very large numbers (i.e., hundreds) of active contracts, many of which are unrelated to the goals of the DEcIDE-2 RFP, what guidance can you provide us in selecting which ones to include as we solicit Past Performance Questionnaires? (4) This would pertain to both our organization as an offeror, as well as our proposed major subcontractors. For example, might we focus on our contracts with governmental organizations and/or on projects related to the AHRQ priority conditions?  (5) Should an academic medical center focus on contracts related to the division or department where our key personnel are affiliated?

(1) Treat each Task Order awarded as a separate item.  Past performance questionnaires are not required for subcontractors. (2)  Use your business judgment which person/ entity you request to complete the Past Performance Questionnaire, but past performance should focus on activities relevant to the Scope of Work of the DEcIDE-2 solicitation.  (3) Use contracts that are relevant to the goals and objectives of the RFP. (4) Yes (5) Yes. 

69. Small Disadvantaged Business Participation Plan: (Section L.12)

The RFP calls for, "A plan on the extent of participation of Small Disadvantaged Business concerns in performance of the contract...... All offerors, regardless of size, shall submit the following information in an original and 2 copies."  Is it sufficient to complete the section about SDB participation in the Small Business Subcontracting Plan, or should we also create a separate section in the technical proposal to describe this?

The Small Disadvantaged Business Participation Plan is SEPARATE from the Small Business Subcontracting Plan and should be a separate submission. Refer to FAR 19.12.

NOTE: The cover letter of the RFP is revised to state and the Section L.10, L.11, L.12 and L.13 are revised or repeated for clarity as set forth below, four volumes should be submitted:

Offerors shall submit the following:

I. Technical Proposal (See Section L.10) (Original and 12 copies and 2 CDs)
J. Past Performance Information (See Section L.11) (Original and 2 (not 5) copies.
K. Small Disadvantaged Business Participation Plan (See Section L.12) (Original and 2 copies)
L. Business Proposal (See Section L.13) (Original and 5 copies plus 2 copies on CD).  The Small Business Subcontracting Plan is part of the Business Proposal.

70.  Business Proposal Instructions (Section L.13)

The RFP states, "For this particular acquisition, the AHRQ recommended goal (as a percentage of total contract value for the base period) is 11% for Small Businesses, which shall include at least 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 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. ..."

Does "base period" refer to the full three-year contract, or just the first year? 

  • Why do the percentages presented for DSB, WOSB, VOSB, and HSB categories add up to 16% rather than the 11% total expected for all SBs?

Response (1) Yes.  (2) The percentages for DSB, WOSB, VOSB and HSB could be added more than once in the chart. For example, a HUBZone business could also qualify a VOSB.

71. Can a foreign entity propose?

No

 

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

 

AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care