The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) used an existing pool of enterprise system development contractors to set up much of its part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) public exchange system.
CMS, an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), often went with the companies that had gone through a 2007 information technology (IT) procurement process in an effort to speed up exchange construction. That strategy might have accelerated the contracting process, but it meant that only 16 companies could bid for some of the exchange development contracts, according to officials at the HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG).
The officials at HHS OIG – an HHS watchdog agency – say in a report on CMS contracting for the HHS-run PPACA exchanges that many of the companies in that 16-company pool declined to submit bids when CMS put out requests for proposals (RFPs) for exchange construction projects.
For one-third of a group of 60 contracts, CMS solicited a proposal from just one company, officials say.
For two of six key contracts issued through competitive processes, with a total estimated value of about $464 million at the time of the award, only four of the 16 companies in the prescreened bidder pool submitted proposals.