Last updated: February 16, 2021
Huntingdon Valley, PA (August 28, 2018): The Veterans Affairs (VA) now considers items equal to those offered by the American Heart Association® (AHA) to be responsive for procurement purposes.
A 100 million dollar market is now open to non-AHA business concerns and purchasing managers may now reap the benefits. Companies like Pacific Medical Training are already offering VA purchasing managers $20 ACLS courses in anticipation of future business relations.
In the past, contracts have only been awarded to companies selling AHA products and services under the justification that “Only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements.” But, things have changed. In fact, Branch Chief, PCAC-STL Chris White stated in email correspondence that “there may be other ways to meet the course material requirements.”
Additionally, when asked if “Pacific Medical Training branded ACLS course materials will be responsive,” Mr. White stated in email correspondence “If your ACLS course materials follow the latest AHA guidelines they would be considered responsive.”
VA no longer wants solicitation of medical training courses to be too restrictive. A major effort to promote full and open competition was demonstrated in the most recent solicitation for medical training. The solicitation, published August 12, 2018, includes the words “or Equal” next to all items in the product description.
Proof of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) training are among some of the items sought by the VA. The wording for the product description section of the solicitation followed the pattern below:
These items are needed to train VA medical centers in accordance with the Resuscitation Education Initiative (REdI). As stated on the REdI home page “The Resuscitation Education Initiative (REdI) is a national program to standardize, document, track and monitor the provision of Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Basic Life Support (BLS) training…”
Prior contracts offering a single award contract to AHA branded businesses were not successful due to bid protests by Pacific Medical Training.
The new outlook on non-AHA businesses is a major victory for VA active medical personnel and for the veterans they serve. The VA employs approximately 180,000 medical employees at over 1,000 facilities. Items such as ACLS, BLS and others are crucial because without those certifications medical staff will not be able implement many life-saving interventions for US military veterans.