Government Purchasing Reform
As a result of the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act (PL 115-91), the GSA was tasked with implementing a reform of the federal procurement system, in which federal departments and agencies acquire commercial products. This is a task with a number of complicating factors and unique circumstances – particularly with regards to healthcare products.
Unfortunately, these new changes to the procurement process are based on legislation that did not receive public comment and lacked thorough Congressional review or regular order oversight. Consequently, it is very important that the GSA afford stakeholders, such as HIDA, the ability to explain the very unique and sensitive nature of the healthcare products which our members distribute.
What Members Need to Know
Congress and the General Services Administration (GSA) must work closely with the health industry to identify products used in the health and treatment of patients, many of which are not suitable for online purchasing, and exempt them from the Procurement through Commercial e-Commerce Portals program. HIDA’s focus is on preventing unintended consequences and ensure the implementation of Sec. 846 of The FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act (PL 115-91) does not compromise the health and safety of patients.
During the late stages of the legislative process and during the House/Senate Conference in 2017, many of the industry’s concerns were heard and the text of the final legislation highlights the uniqueness of the healthcare supply chain. In fact, NDAA Sec. 846(c)(2)(B)(C) specifically recognizes the concerns presented by HIDA, and requires “Consultation with affected departments and agencies about their unique procurement needs, such as supply chain risks for health care products, information technology, software, or any other category determined necessary by the Administrator,” as well as “An assessment of the products or product categories that are suitable for purchase on the commercial e-commerce portals.” HIDA continues to work closely with GSA to ensure the unique nature of our industry is understood.