New WCRC RFP Announced
On February 22, 2016, CMS announced that it anticipates releasing the WCRC solicitation [Solicitation No: RFP-CMS-2016-8A-0008] on or about March 8th with a bid deadline on April 8th and anticipated award on June 20th. Once again it is an 8(a) contract, meaning that bidding is limited to minority small businesses. The contract will be issued for only 12 months with four one year renewal options, so that should give the winner a chance to really figure out how the process works. And the contract is again going to be awarded on a firm fixed price basis meaning that the winner will review WCMSA proposals and all pertinent medical and billing records in a fraction of the time used to prepare it and be paid likely less than $200 per case to do so, as is the case under the current contract. This should ensure quality performance once again.
If anyone has ever wondered why we advocate so strongly for non-submission programs, this is the main reason. Bidding on government contracts is a business in and of itself and the actual work that must be completed under the contract seems to be an afterthought. These companies find solicitations in areas they are registered to bid and simultaneously line up qualified applicants but don’t hire them unless and until the contract is awarded. Given that they frequently do not do the type of work awarded prior to obtaining the contract, it is hard to say how they determine what a qualified candidate is. Then once the contract is awarded, it takes months or even years for them to become proficient at the work, just in time for the contract to end. And these are the people making important financial decisions about your workers’ compensation settlements.
The CMS approval process has a certain value but it is the program’s inherent costs that seriously outweigh the benefits. Beyond the CMS mandates, such as AWP pricing and funding of items and services either not medically indicated or not compensable under state law, we have inexperienced government contractors making the recommendations to the agency as to whether to accept our proposals or not. If ever there was time to explore a non-submission program, during the implementation of yet another WCRC contractor should certainly be a consideration.