AMENDMENT NO. 2; RFP NHLBI-HO-98-21; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Health Information Network

May 12, 1998
April 15, 1998
National Institutes of Health
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Contracts Operations Branch
Rockledge Building, Room 6138
6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7902
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-7902

To all recipients of RFP No. NHLBI-HO-98-21
  1. This amendment (A) revises various sections of the RFP as shown below, and (B) answers/clarifies questions/comments raised at the pre-proposal conference of May 5, 1998.


    Revision #1: Article F.3.., Level of Effort, is revised to delete Year 6 and Year 7 and should read as follows:


    [To be determined during negotiations]

    1. During the period of performance of this contract, the Contractor shall provide ____ direct labor hours. The labor hours (INCLUDE/EXCLUDE) vacation, sick leave, and holiday. It is estimated that the labor hours are constituted as specified below and will be expended approximately as follows:

      Labor Hours
      Labor Category Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
      Other Professional

    2. The Contractor shall have satisfied the requirement herein if not less than ____% nor more than ____% of the total direct labor hours specified herein are furnished.

    3. In the event fewer hours than the minimum specified number of direct labor hours in the total categories are used by the Contractor in accomplishing the prescribed work and the Government has not invoked its rights under the clause TERMINATION (Cost-Reimbursement) Federal Acquisition Regulation 52.249-6 incorporated in this contract, these parties agree that the fee will be adjusted based solely upon the quantity of hours by which the number of direct labor hours furnished is less than the number of direct labor hours specified in this ARTICLE. The resulting adjustment shall be evidenced by a contract modification.

    Revision #2: Section L.1.o., Technical Proposal Table of Contents, is revised to change paragraphs e., f., g., and h. to read 5., 6., 7., and 8., respectively. Note: The technical proposal cover sheet, technical proposal table of contents, and abstract are not part of the 175-page limit of the technical plan. The total number of pages for the technical proposal shall not exceed 353 pages. Section L.1.o. should read as follows:


      Please number each page of text. Type density and size must be 10-12 points. If constant spacing is used, there should be no more than 15 cpi, whereas proportional spacing should provide an average of no more than 15 cpi. There must be no more than six lines of text within a vertical inch.

      The technical proposal should be organized as follows:

      3. ABSTRACT-- Page 3
        State the proposal's broad, long-term objectives and specific aims. Briefly and concisely describe the research design and methods for achieving these goals. DO NOT EXCEED one page in providing the abstract. Identify the RFP Number, Institution and Principal Investigator on the abstract.
      4. TECHNICAL PLAN (not to exceed 175 PAGES)
        Refer to Technical Proposal Instructions located under Section L.2.b. for more detail.

          1. Objectives--Page #
          2. Approach--Page #
          3. Methods--Page #
          4. Schedule--Page #

        2. PERSONNEL
          1. List of all Personnel in the project including Subcontractors, Consultants/Collaborators, by name, title, department and organization--Page #
          2. Principal Investigator/Project Director--Page #
          3. Other Investigators--Page #
          4. Additional Personnel--Page #
            [NOTE: For personnel, include a two-page biosketch under APPENDICES below.]

          List/describe all facilities, equipment and other resources available for this project.

          (Use specifically titled subparagraphs, as applicable.)

      5. OTHER SUPPORT--Page #
        Complete the Form "Summary of Related Activities." All key personnel must be listed on this form. See Section J, List of Attachments.

        Complete form. See Section J, List of Attachments.

      7. LITERATURE CITED--Page #

      8. APPENDICES and HYPOTHETICAL PROJECT PLAN (not to exceed 175 PAGES)--Page #
        List each Appendix and the Hypothetical Project Plan and identify the number of pages for each one. Appendices must be clear and legible, and easily located. Include biosketches here. Note: The case study must adhere to a 25-page limit that includes charts, graphs, and other visuals. See Attachment 2, Technical Proposal Requirement: Hypothetical Project Plan, for further information.

    Revision #3: Section L.2.c.(4), Formats for Submissions of Line Items Summaries, is revised to read as follows (paragraph 2 is deleted in its entirety):

    In an effort to assist the business proposal review process, offerors are requested to use the pre-formatted Contractor Proposal Spreadsheet which is available at the following web site: NIH RFP Directory. The Spreadsheet may be accessed by selecting Cost Proposal at the bottom of Business Proposal Cost Information under Forms, Formats, and Attachments. As part of the "Just in Time" procedures, all offerors included in the competitive range will be required to submit their Contractor Proposal Spreadsheet on a disk. Note: The easiest way to access the file once you locate it on the web site is to save the file to a directory and open it in Excel.

    Revision #4: Attachment 2, Statement of Work, subtasks 1.8 and 1.9 are revised to correct the "Note to Offerors" as follows:

    1.8 Transition Plan--Contract Month 1

    Note to Offerors: The Government's estimate of the level of effort by task for this project can be found in Section L.1.f., Level of Effort. Prospective offerors shall propose the effort needed for this transition period (month 1). Full staffing of the project is required by the beginning of the second month of the contract.

    1.9 Transition Plan--Contract Month 60

    Note to Offerors: The Government's estimate of the level of effort by task for this project can be found in Section L.1.f., Level of Effort. Prospective offerors shall propose the effort needed for this transition period (month 60).

    Revision #5: Part III, Section J - List of Attachments, is revised to delete Attachment no. 12 in its entirety.


    Question: What is the size standard associated with SIC 8732?
    Answer: $5,000,000 annual average gross revenue for the last three fiscal years.

    Question: Is there an incumbent for this work?
    Answer: Yes, R.O.W. Sciences, Inc. (located in Rockville, Maryland)

    Question: Are the costs for printing HeartMemo, AsthmaMemo, and the educational catalog to be included in the $300,000 print costs, or should these be considered additional costs?
    Answer: Costs for printing HeartMemo, AsthmaMemo, and the educational catalog should not be included in offeror's cost proposal. Costs will be borne by the NHLBI via another mechanism.

    Question: It is unclear whether the offeror is to allocate costs by tasks for the first submission, or will this be a part of the "Just in Time" negotiation?
    Answer: The offeror's initial cost proposal should include an overall summary sheet identifying costs broken down for each year of the contract. In addition, a separate spreadsheet is required for each year of the contract identifying costs broken down per task. See Revision no. 3 above.

    Question: Please provide the page number for the levels of effort for Tasks 1.8 and 1.9 in Section L as stated in these tasks.
    Answer: See revision no. 4. above.

    Question: Is the incumbent contractor eligible for the recompetition?
    Answer: Yes.

    Question: A broad range of expertise is required, especially subject matter experts. Are any of these employees transferable if the incumbent is a) not in a position to recompete, or b) not the apparent winner?
    Answer: This is an issue that rests between the offeror and prospective employee.

    Question: What is the small business requirement for this proposal effort?
    Answer: There is no exact mandated amount. The goals of the Small, Small Disadvantaged and Women-Owned Small Business Subcontracting Plan will be dependent upon the negotiated costs.

    Question: Article H.6., Publication and Publicity, has not stated the funding contract number. Please clarify and provide.
    Answer: A contract number will be assigned at time of contract award.

    Question: Will the reading room have a copy of the current contract or should we go through the FOIA process? If so, where should we send our requests?
    Answer: A FOIA request may be faxed or mailed to the following individual in order to obtain a copy of the current contract. Note: the contract number is N01-HO-39208:

    Suzanne Anthony
    Freedom of Information Coordinator, NHLBI
    9000 Rockville Pike
    Building 31, Room 5A08
    Bethesda, MD 20892
    FAX: (301) 402-4131

    Question: The SIC Code of 8732 represents a small business size standard of $5,000,000, yet the level of effort and number of labor hours projected are higher. What is the approximate value of this contract and was this formerly a small business set-aside?
    Answer: The approximate value of the contract cannot be divulged to offerors. The current contract was not a small business set-aside. The FAR requires the SIC code and size standard be given in every solicitation. This procurement is full and open competition, i.e., small and large business firms may submit a proposal.

    Question: What is the award process flow since the tentative award date is February 1999 and the "Just in Time" process will be utilized for business proposal evaluation purposes?
    Answer: Peer review evaluation is anticipated to occur in early September 1998. Offerors should be notified whether they have made the competitive range or not by early October 1998. Technical and cost negotiations will occur from October 1998 thru early January 1999.

    Question: Transition Plan: is the contract operating life 58 months because there is a thirty-day transition on both the front and end of the contract?
    Answer: The period of performance of this contract is 60 months.

    Question: Will you provide a list of attendees at the pre-proposal conference?
    Answer: Please find below a list of firms which attended the conference:

    Quantum Research Corporation
    Turner Harper
    R.O.W. Sciences, Inc.
    Seta Corp.
    Eagle Design & Management
    Macro International
    IQ Solutions
    The Mayatech Corp.
    Prospect Associates
    Human Genome & Toxicology

    Question: What is the average weight of the 10-foot exhibits that the contractor will send to conferences (Task 4.3 Management of NHLBI Exhibits)?
    Answer: The usual 10-foot exhibit sent to conferences is the 8-foot x 10-foot "Pro II" exhibit. This exhibit comes in two cases, each weighing approximately 45 pounds. Thus the total weight of the exhibit is about 90 pounds.

    Question: How many exhibits, if any, will be staffed by contractor personnel?
    Answer: As directed by the NHLBI, the contractor will be responsible for the overall management and operation of the NHLBI exhibit program. Thus an estimated 30 conferences per contract year will need to be staffed. It is expected that the staffing, as well as other aspects of exhibit marketing and outreach, will be accomplished using means that employ new technologies and that are innovative and cost-effective.

    Question: The contract is performance-based; was the current contract performance-based? If so, what were the performance trends and which ones were the most acceptable to the Government?
    Answer: The current contract is not performance-based as the RFP defines the proposed contract. The current contractor does respond to an annual OPEC Program Plan (available in the Reading Room) that defines specific project objectives requirements and deliverables.

    Question: Has the requirement for electronic reporting been fulfilled in the past? If yes, what was the process and what is the current network architecture?
    Answer: There has not been a requirement for electronic reporting in the past.

    Question: There are several places where the Government projects the work flow and the number and types of documents. For those who make the technical cut, will the actual numbers be available for workforce planning?
    Answer: The work flow and number and types of documents projected in the Statement of Work as well as the information provided in section L.1.f. "Level of Effort" of the RFP should be used for workforce planning.

    Question: Please describe the current systems, networks, databases, and software applications in use today for contract support, or will these data be available for review in the Reading Room?
    Answer: OPEC will make information about the Marketing and Information and Inventory databases available in the Reading Room.

    Question: Shall the offeror provide subject matter specialists with research experience, or are more junior science writers appropriate?
    Answer: It is the offeror's role to propose the types of staffing required to best fulfill the requirements of a particular task area. For example, in the RFP under subtask 7.1, "Responding to Annual OPEC Program Plans," the fourth paragraph states that "the contractor shall demonstrate a capability to quickly access technical resources to be allocated to these projects depending on project requirements and facilitate and coordinate the effective use of these resources in a schedule-driven and cost-efficient manner." As further stated, "implementation plans in response to project plans will be subject to review and approval of the NHLBI."

    Question: Please provide a recent example of an OPEC initiative or program which meets your criteria of success under this new environment of reinvention and reengineering.
    Answer: An example of such a program is OPEC's cost recovery initiative, begun in the fall of 1997. Under cost recovery, OPEC charges fees for most of its publications to help make up for the cost of printing and disseminating them. This program was developed in light of Federal legislation and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations which provide guidance for government agencies in recovering costs related to the dissemination of public information. OMB views cost recovery as a positive aspect of furthering an agency's ultimate mission of "creating a government that works better and costs less." The existing framework of policy and legislation created opportunities for NHLBI to extend its resources through cost recovery and serve an ever-growing demand for science-based information. A key element in cost recovery implementation was revamping NHLBI's product catalog into two new editions--one for consumers and one for health professionals. Cost recovery has been meeting its goals during its first 6 months of operation; an evaluation is ongoing.

    Question: How much epidemiology or statistical analysis support is expected?
    Answer: The amount of epidemiologic and statistical analyses required will depend upon the projects identified in the annual OPEC Program Plan. As stated in Task 7.1, "the contractor shall provide a technical and management capability to respond to selected performance-based project plans that will be presented in the annual OPEC Program Plan." Projects may require a diverse mix of skills including expertise in public health, health education, nutrition, etc., and certain projects may require limited secondary data analysis. Thus access to epidemiologic/biostatistical resources may be necessary to respond to selected project requirements. However, ongoing data analysis support requiring dedicated, full-time staff is not a part of this RFP.

    Question: Where can I find a technical description of the software that you need developed for RFP NHLBI-HO-98-21?
    Answer: It is the responsibility of the offeror to identify the software applications that would be used to meet the challenges identified in the Statement of Work.

  1. The hour and date specified for receipt of offers is NOT extended. Please acknowledge receipt of this amendment by sending an electronic mail to: Joanna Magginas. Failure of your acknowledgment to be received prior to the hour and date specified for receipt of proposals may result in rejection of your offer.


    Joanna Magginas, Contracting Officer, NHLBI


    BY (signature of Contracting Officer)



    May 12, 1998

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