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Data Management and Computer Programming Support

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Request for Proposal (RFP) No. AHRQ-09-10006

Amendment 1

The purpose of this amendment is to:

  1. Respond to Questions
  2. Provide an Interested Vendor List

1.  Response to Questions

  1. Is there an incumbent(s) for this contract?
  2. Yes.

  3. Is CMM/CMMI certification mandatory for offerors?

    No. The offerors are asked to provide what certification level, if any, they have obtained

  4. The RFP states:  "For this particular acquisition, the 2009 AHRQ recommended goal (as a percentage of total contract value for the base period) is 19 percent for Small Businesses,  which shall include at least 5.5 percent (as a percentage of total planned subcontract dollars for the base period) for Small Disadvantaged Businesses, at least 5 percent (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 percent (as a percentage of total planned subcontract dollars for the base period) for HUBZone [Historically Underutilized Business Zone] Small Businesses and at least 3 percent (as a percentage of total planned subcontract dollars for the base period) for Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses.  These goals represent AHRQ's expectations of the minimum level for subcontracting with small business at the prime contract level." 
    • We are a Woman-Owned, SBA [Small Business Administration]-certified Small Disadvantaged Business—are we still required to subcontract to other Woman-Owned and/or Small Disadvantaged Businesses?  

      No. This requirement does not apply to other small businesses submitting a proposal.

    • In order to meet the HUBZone Small Business and Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business goals, must we subcontract to two different firms, or can one firm with multiple certifications meet the requirement?

      One firm with multiple certifications may meet the requirement.

  5. Pages 1 and 113 of the RFP address the recommended goals for small business and small disadvantaged businesses (SDBs).  The percentage of small business participation is given in terms of the total contract value for the base period (19 percent of the total contract value for the base year), while the percentages for SDBs are given in terms of the percentage of total planned subcontract dollars for the base year.  On page 113, the overall percentage goal is given as 20 percent of the total contract value. Is it intended that the small business participation should be in terms of the total planned subcontract dollars for the base year instead of the total contract value for the base year?  That is, should it read "the 2009 AHRQ recommended goal (as a percentage of the total planned subcontract dollars for the base period) is 19 percent for Small Businesses"?

    No. It is 19 percent of the total contract value for the base period.

    • Should these goals apply for each year of the contract, not just the base year of the contract?


    • Can you please resolve if the overall goal is 19 percent or 20 percent?

      It should read 19 percent.

  6. Page 1 indicates that a cost reimbursement performance-based contract is contemplated.  Elsewhere in the RFP (page 97), it indicates that it will be a cost reimbursement type contract.  No additional information is provided concerning "performance-based" fee award criteria and the evaluation procedures.  Please clarify the type of contract that is intended.  If fee award is intended, please provide evaluation procedures, evaluation criteria, and rating scale. 

    This is an error.  This contract will NOT be a performance-based contract.

  7. What is the current format of the MEPS [Medical Expenditure Panel Survey] data files?

    ASCII files with SAS format statements.

  8. Will the HCUP [Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project] files remain on both the AHRQ and contractor site, or will they be consolidated?

    Yes, the HCUP files will remain on both the AHRQ and contractor site.

  9. Is the online statistical computing system (MEPSnet/HC [Household Component]) a proprietary solution or COTS?

    It was developed by the incumbent contractor, but the new vendor will be provided the code and documentation.

  10. Page 15—"Additionally, the contractor shall provide mainframe support for AHRQ research activities upon request."—What mainframe computers does AHRQ use?

    AHRQ has access to National Institutes of Health (NIH) mainframe computers.

  11. The proposal states in section B.4 that IT [information technology] Hardware and Software are non-allowable—we anticipate that the execution of the contract will require hardware and software—are these items allowable if incorporated in the proposal?

    B.4 states that IT Hardware and Software are unallowable as a direct cost unless authorized in writing by the Contracting Officer.  An offeror may propose IT Hardware or Software; however, the successful offeror must still request advance permission to incur costs for IT Hardware and Software under the contract.

  12. The RFP notes that AHRQ has plans to Web-enable all data sets using Oracle—has this project commenced?  Is the use of Oracle a requirement?  Is this within the scope of this project?

    The MEPS Web site was developed using JAVA  server pages with Oracle as the back end relational database management system.

  13. A.1.B—Analytic File Construction:  Would this be hourly work to specific orders or would we be encouraged to provide insight and leadership?  Does the contract envision transitioning this to a set of re-usable, interchangeable components over time?

    Hourly work to specific orders. Most analytic files are for one-time projects.

  14. Where is the data stored presently?  What formats are used?

    At the contractor's facility; ASCII files with SAS format statements.

  15. Is data normalization part of this proposal?

    Not for MEPS.

  16. To the extent that novel data manipulation applications are developed, would Bayh-Dole apply to those applications which do not need to be public use and are not specific to AHRQ?

    Yes, the Bayh-Dole Act applies to applications developed under the contract which do not need to be public use and are not specific to AHRQ. The Federal Government, however, retains "March-in" rights to license the applications to a third party, without the consent of the patent holder or original licensee, where it determines the applications are not being made available to the public on a reasonable basis.

  17. Besides SAS, what are the languages used to provide programming support? 

    SUDAAN, STATA, STAT Transfer, and LIMDEP.

  18. What is the size of the MEPS and HCUP databases?

    Each year, MEPS produces 50 hierarchical database segments of raw data, which consist of about 4,000 variables.

  19. What tools are currently used for software version control, defect tracking, requirements management, test management, and software build?

    None. Most of the programming support are done through statistical packages (e.g., SAS, STATA, SUDAAN). We have not developed any new software under this contract in quite some time. 

  20. Who is the current contractor? Is the current contractor allowed to submit a proposal?

    Social & Scientific Systems.  Yes, as this RFP is being competed as full and open.

  21. What is the value of the current contract?

    Approximately $27 million over 5 years.

  22. Can you provide details about what constitutes the AHRQ Data Center?

    Link to description on the Web:

    • Provides researchers access to non-public use MEPS data (except directly identifiable information).
    • Mode of data analysis:
      • On a secure LAN at AHRQ, Rockville.
      • Task order agreement with data contractor.
      • Combinations of both.
    • Secure room
    • Terminal connected to secure LAN
    • SAS, STATA, GAUSS, Stat Transfer, SUDAAN, Limdep, EQS software available, and others upon request 
    • Limited staff support by people who know:
      • The data.
      • The confidentiality issues.
      • The software

    ADP contractor will provide 1 full-time-equivalent (FTE) for on-site support of the data center.

  23. Is it single site data processing facility?


  24. What are the applicable connected systems for this RFP?  How are they connected?

    There are no connected systems.

    • Can you provide specifics about data center components and SLAs [service level agreements] related to Section A.1.9, Processing Environment?

      The AHRQ data center operates in a secure, standalone LAN environment.

    • What HHS [Department of Health and Human Services] Agency hosts the AHRQ Data Center?  


    • What is the Uptime Institute tier classification?  Does the AHRQ Data Center require Tier Certification?  What level (I-IV)?

      The MEPS raw data has been classified as NIST [National Institute of Standards and Technology] level 3.

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2. Interested Vendor List

BearingPoint, Inc.
McLean, VA 22102
POC: Cyrus Choy, Managing Director

Benchmark Research & Safety
Moscow, ID 83843
POC: Curt Braun, President

Infradant, LLC
Summerfield, FL 34491
POC: Helen Phillips, President

Plano Research Corporation
Plano, TX 75024
Amol Chopra, Business Director

Quick Beam Convergence Technologies Inc.
Gaithersburg MD 20879
POC : Marsha Barbour, President

Synectics for Management Decisions, Inc.
Arlington, VA 22209
POC: Linda Hazelhurst, Director, Business Development

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Current as of February 2009

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


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