The Government Accountability Office has called on the Department of Veterans Affairs to construct performance standards for the development of sole-source affiliate contracts in order to maintain timely formation of high-value, long-term SSACs.
GAO said Monday it found that three of the five VA medical centers examined spent about three years to develop and award 11 high-value, long-term SSACs and that two medical centers failed to adopt high-value, long-term SSACs.
“High-value, long-term SSACs generally require the most oversight of all SSACs by the Veterans Health Administration, have total initial values of $500,000 or more and provide affiliate services for more than one year,” GAO noted.
Officials from the five medical centers acknowledged that long development timeframes could create gaps in patient healthcare and lead to repetitive development of short-term solutions.
GAO also discovered that contracting officers with responsibility for the development of SSACs in the 21 VHA network contracting offices lack the required experience.
Auditors also called for the setup of the minimum amount of time required to develop and award short-term SSACs and step up the retention of contracting officers.