On February 19th, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the solicitation for Data Analytics Supporting Healthcare (DASH) via GSA E-Buy, a Small Business multiple award BPA with a HubZone preference. Phase 1 is due this Friday, February 26th.

Our GovCon expert, Tris Carpenter, did a quick look assessment on this highly anticipated opportunity to bring you some value nuggets on how to approach this BPA. Below is a summary of the opportunity parameters, followed by information on teaming, evaluation criteria, proposal format, key stakeholders, and thoughts on some well-positioned companies.

CMS DASH Parameters
  • Agency/OpDiv: HHS / CMS
  • Office/Group: Center for Clinical Standards and Quality (CCSQ) / Information Systems Group (ISG)
  • Title: Data Analytics Supporting Healthcare (DASH)
  • RFQ #: 210181
  • Status: Post-RFP
  • Solicitation Release: February 19, 2021
  • Phase 1 Due Date: February 26, 2021
  • Phase 2 Due Date: TBD (assuming 2-4 weeks from prior phase due date)
  • Phase 3 Due Date: TBD (assuming 2-4 weeks from prior phase due date)
  • Phase 4 Due Date: TBD (assuming 2-4 weeks from prior phase due date)
  • Award Date: TBD (assuming June 2021 timeframe)
  • Competition Type: Small Business Set-Aside (HubZone Preference)
  • Type of Award: GSA MAS IT Category BPA (under Special Item Number 54151S)
  • Value: TBD, potential up to $500 million shared ceiling
  • Duration: 1-year base period plus 4 x 1-year option periods
  • Place of Performance: Contractor facilities (visits to CMS facilities in Woodlawn, MD)
  • Users: System owners and the CMS/CCSQ project team
  • Expected Award(s): Multiple (5-7)
  • Primary NAICS: Assigned by awarded contract holder’s associated GSA MAS FSS vehicle
  • Contract Type: TBD, likely Firm Fixed Price
  • Evaluation Method: Best Value Tradeoff (BVTO)
  • Incumbent(s): None, new opportunity
Key Takeaways for CMS DASH


  • CMS will rely on socio-economic status from GSA E-Library to apply the small business size determination (no re-certification of size status expected at time of submission).
  • The RFQ will be conducted in accordance with FAR 8.405-3. Use of this process does not obligate CMS to determine a competitive range, conduct discussions with any contractors, solicit responses or revisions, or use any other source selection techniques associated with FAR subpart 15.3.
  • The RFQ evaluation will be conducted in multiple phases, with advisory notifications following each individual phase of quote submission and evaluation. The notification will advise if an offeror is viable and should participate in the next RFQ phase, based on information submitted in the prior phase. For offerors not deemed viable, however they choose to continue after the unfavorable advisory down select, a notice must be sent to the Contracting Officer (CO). Otherwise, CMS will assume adherence not to participate in the next phase.


  • Contractor Teaming Agreements (CTAs) are allowable, and all team members must have a valid and current GSA FSS contract.
  • Note! As all FSS CTA Team Members are considered co-primes, they all must be able to meet the small business and socioeconomic designations of the BPA set-aside (e.g., all CTA Team Members, and not just the Team Lead, must be HubZone under the size standard assigned to the procurement).

Proposal Submission

  • The response for Volume 1: Relevant Experience is submitted via E-Buy.
  • Volumes 2, 3 and 4 are submitted via email to the CO.

Evaluation Process

The response will be conducted in phased advisory evaluation format.

  • Phase 1: Relevant Experience: Maximum of three narratives per experience area, each describing recent experience similar in terms of scope, scale. and complexity.
    • Offeror submits Volume 1 – Factor 1: Relevant Experience (5 pages)
  • Phase 2: Data Analytics and Reporting Technical Challenge: Video exercise to design an analytics and reporting solution at scale.
    • Q&A Period
    • Offeror submits YouTube submission – Factor 2: Data Analytics and Reporting Technical Challenge (5 minutes)
  • Phase 3: Data Ingestion Technical Challenge: Video exercise to design a working solution demonstrating ingestion of datasets from different sources and formats into an AWS repository.
    • Q&A Period
    • Offeror submits YouTube submission – Factor 3: Data Ingestion Technical Challenge (5 minutes)
  • Phase 4: SAS Viya Technical Challenge, Quality Control, Price, and COI: Video exercise to present a design approach for reengineering the CCSQ Cloud Analytics Platform from SAS Viya to an open-source product.
    • Q&A Period
    • Offeror submits YouTube Submission – Factor 4: SAS Viya Technical Challenge (5 minutes)
    • Offeror submits Volume 1 – Factor 5: Quality Control (20 pages) and Volume 2 – Price and COI
    • CMS provides an award decision upon conclusion of Phase 4

Evaluation Criteria for Award

  • RFQ responses must meet performance thresholds outlined for all of the factors.
  • All non-price evaluation factors, when combined, are more important than price.
  • As all factors become equal, HUBZone status is used as a final BPA award factor.
  • All factor ratings are considered in the Government’s best value determination.
  • CMS will assign each proposal a Confidence Level of “High Confidence,” “Some Confidence”, “Low Confidence”, or “No Confidence”.
  • Price evaluated IAW with offeror’s GSA pricelist rates (with any discounts).


The scope for this opportunity is to provide a commercial, streamlined process to support CMS Quality Related Initiatives with the need for agile delivery services. This includes IT Management and Governance; Business Process Analysis; Human-Centered Design (HCD), Agile Solution Architecture and Design, Agile Application Development, Analytics and Reporting, Integration, and DevOps.

  • Services will be available to CMS components with a quality related initiative and Federal agency partners sharing a collaborative CMS quality related initiative need.
  • Statement of Objectives performance requirements include:
    • Task Area 1 – Data Management and Governance
    • Task Area 2 – Data Reporting and Analytics
    • Task Area 3 – Coaching and Support Services

Required Capabilities

  • Focus on an offeror describing where they have used various healthcare domain datasets; experience interpreting healthcare quality measures-related policies and legislative mandates into data analytic solutions; use of Cloud Technologies; experience using Machine Learning and/or Text Analytics; data ingestion from different sources into a centralized repository; and application of Analytics Education, Advisory, and Coaching.
  • Offerors should employ U.S. Digital Service Best Practices for Agile Delivery for Information Technology Development and Agile Manifesto to guide delivery processes. Offerors must also implement a successful DevOps strategy that automates software development and establishes a CI/CD architecture.

Competitive Landscape

CMS received 100+ responses to the RFI, so competition will be very strong. A Pre-Proposal Conference was held on December 9th during the CMS Industry Day.

Top CMS HubZone vendors in this space include Softrams, SoftDev, Akira, Index Analytics, Analytica, RELI Group, Fearless, and Skylight Digital. Other top CMS SB vendors include SemanticBits, HighPoint Digital, TISTA, DCCA, Bellese, C-HIT, Flexion, SBD, Ventera, Titania, and Sparksoft. Digital Services Coalition members to consider include 540, Ad Hoc, Agile Six, CivicActions, Flexion, Mediabarn, Mo Studio, Nava, Oddball, &Partners, The SO Company, STSI, and Truss.

 Key CMS Stakeholders

  • Sabrina Thompson: Contracting Officer, OAGM
  • Gennady Sherman: IT Specialist (Data Management), CCSQ ISG
  • Farid Menhaji: Program Manager, CCSQ ISG
  • Indre Goble: Project Lead, CCSQ
  • Mark Plaugher: Acting Director, CCSQ ISG
  • Ken Howard: Director, Division of Engineering & Architecture (DEA), CCSQ ISG