AFCEA’s Health IT Summit remains one of the premier and must attend annual events for the Federal Health IT community, with a who’s who of senior industry and government leaders in attendance.  

Day one of the conference did not disappoint as it featured an array of Federal Health leaders from across FDA, CMS, NIH, VA and DHA sharing insight and perspective as to where their organization has been and where it is going. Three of the more noteworthy topics and conversations that were relayed to the OS AI team (and that we can share here) include some additional notes on the FDA’s plans for a new analytics BPA, the many recent acquisitions by Federal Health powerhouses, and to no one’s surprise with a Draft RFP on the street, there was a lot of chatter about T4NG2.  

$500M FDA Analytics BPA

It has been a few months since the FDA Office of Data, Analytics, and Research (ODAR) asked a select group of large and small businesses to join them for a series of information sessions to help the agency understand the current analytics landscape (the list was not announced publicly, but it is believed to include FDA mainstays such as Deloitte, GDIT, Booz Allen Hamilton and several smalls) while they planned next steps. At yesterday’s summit, FDA confirmed that the BPA is moving forward and is expected to be multiple-award with the potential for 6 awards – 3 large and 3 small.  

Expect a lot of interest on this one as the reach of this BPA will have great strategic value to companies looking to support this FDA office focused on managing and improving the agency’s ability to leverage data as a strategic asset by establishing enterprise data strategy and priorities. Of note is that DAS Federal (one of the small businesses rumored to have been asked to present to ODAR late last year) must have been thrilled when the FDA then proceeded to publicly highlight the success of two separate DAS Federal-supported projects – OIMT automation and OC Analytics. Who doesn’t like an endorsement in front of 1000 of your closest friends and competitors, especially when a huge BPA competition is on the horizon?  

M&A Implications

Much conversation centered around several recent strategic acquisitions, along with speculation about who is “on the block” and who may/may not be announcing they are sold soon. 

We will not touch on the latter rumor mill banter here, but we can say that with viable SDVOSB Prime options on the mind of many, the announcement that PingWind (a highly successful VA T4NG Prime by way of their JV with Peraton) has acquired a company. expanding their footprint across 11 states, was timely as it further ensured they were one of the most talked about companies during the course of the day.  

The rest of the conversations seemed to center around several major Federal Health transactions that took place over the past 6 months (e.g., Guidehouse making another move with the Grant Thornton business unit acquisition; DLH continuing its expansion with the GRSi buy; and of course, IBM and Octo.) How many people have already run a report with all the FY 2023 and 2024 recompetes for each of the acquired organizations? We are not sure, but we do know based on our conversations that this will be a key strategy for some of the primary competitors


The primary VA large industry partners today seemed content with the current trajectory of the competition, while the draft RFP left many if not most of the remaining large and small players in the community feeling dejected and pessimistic about their prospects of contending. The common thread we heard from several seasoned growth leaders who support VA, is that the way the draft RFP and the scorecard are structured now, they expect the unrestricted awardees to be a pool of familiar large players and that the small awardees are likely to come from a pool of mentor protégé joint ventures backed by (you guessed it) – many of the same familiar large players.  

Does this concern mean the VA will get fewer bids? Maybe, but with $60B on the line, even if they do not change a thing, the TAC is still going to receive a huge number of responses.  

We should note that it was not all doom and gloom as there was also optimism and hope (and pure speculation in many cases) from many that the VA will tweak some of the requirements to level the playing field for SDVOSBs that are not MPP JVs; that the VA will not hold to the aggressive schedule they have outlined; and with the VA CEDAR IDIQ expected to hit its ceiling earlier than expected, that maybe, just maybe, the VA might find some other mechanism to broaden the field for additional SDVOSBs to compete on other IT contracts. Did we say this was hopeful speculation? We would not put a lot of weight into any of this, but we do know with 100% certainty that the TAC will be receiving its fair share of feedback from industry as they try and influence the direction of this requirement.  

Announced late yesterday afternoon, the VA confirmed that it is planning to host a virtual industry day for the T4NG2 procurement on Thursday, February 2. More details to come, but we will know more soon enough.  

Here is hoping day two of the Health IT summit is just as productive for all who attend. Have questions? Did you hear something different from what we heard? Have something you want to share? Comment or contact us below.  

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