DHA’s Medical Q-Coded Services (MQS) RFP – Complex Proposal Writing System Required
The Defense Health Agency (DHA) latest Multiple Award Task Order Contract (MATOC) for the placement of Health Care Workers (HCW) at all military treatment facilities throughout the 50 States and US Territories, Medical Q-Coded Services (MQS) RFP, is now issued and proposals are due by March 8th. This opportunity is a DoD-wide MATOC with a 5-year ordering period and consists of functionally segmented (e.g., Physician, Dental, Ancillary, and Nursing) contracts.
New Proposal Preparation System
So what is so different in this bid? The significant change is the proposal preparation system and all companies bidding should take heed. DHA has turned towards the new self-scoring system that GSA has been using since 2015. It means that there is virtually zero proposal writing involved. However, don’t be mistaken, preparation of the proposal documents is much more time consuming and very complex for companies who have not worked on such systems before. If you are familiar with GSA’s VETS II or Alliant II in the IT realm, you know that the preparation of all the documents in the format that the RFP requires takes hundreds of hours. That is why DHA has allowed 60 days for this, and I am sure that it will be extended many times.
The system is based on a self-scoring worksheet that you need to fill out and then provide supporting documents for each item number that you enter. The maximum total score that you can get is 3600 for a total of 73 items if you participate in all four segments (Physician, Dental, Ancillary and Nursing).
Warning – Don’t Underestimate the Complexity or the Scope of Effort
My company provided proposal development services to 7 companies on Alliant II. We did cradle-to-grave for 4 and provided consulting service to 3 other companies. I want to explain my experience with those three companies. Initially, they told me that they have capable in-house proposal teams and are confident that they can prepare the proposal and just want us to do a final review. However, in reality, when we received their proposals, all three were completely off the mark and would have disqualified them. Didn’t they have capable in-house teams? They certainly did. The problem was that this was a new system that people were not familiar with and tried to work on it using the traditional ways. They had spent hours writing material; whereas the self-scoring system does not require any writing. Instead, it needs paying serious attention to the instructions. One client called it a puzzle that you need to solve as you go on and I certainly admit that it is a complex puzzle.
In conclusion, this is a very lucrative contract that can bring in substantial business for the next five years. However, don’t underestimate the effort. Find capable outside proposal development companies who have done this type of self-scoring proposal before and start as early as possible. If you have not done so yet, you are late already.