GSA and COVID-19: Prepare for the Coronavirus Pandemic
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been a main topic of discussion in recent months as it has continued to spread rapidly worldwide. Since the Coronavirus hit the United States, the US Federal Government as well as State and Local Governments have had to take action to respond to this global pandemic. With that action comes the need for solutions. Federal Government Contractors – get ready for a rapid increase in sales.
On March 6, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020. The bill will provide $8.3 billion in emergency funding for federal agencies to respond to the outbreak. Emergency spending is exempt from discretionary spending limits. The bill provides supplemental appropriations for the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (all agencies within the US Department of Health and Human Services). The bill also provides supplemental appropriations for the Small Business Administration, the Department of State and the US Agency for International Development. The bill states that the programs funded address issues such as:
- Developing, manufacturing, and procuring vaccines and other medical supplies;
- Grants for state, local, and tribal public health agencies and organizations;
- Loans for affected small businesses;
- Evacuations and emergency preparedness activities at U.S. embassies and other State Department facilities; and
- Humanitarian assistance and support for health systems in the affected countries.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on March 11th that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will award over $560 million to state and local jurisdictions in support of COVID-19 response. The funds are meant to allow public health leaders of state and local entities to implement measures to contain and mitigate the spread of the virus.
What Does This Mean For Government Contractors?
The government agencies that you see above, and especially State and Local Government entities, will need serious support from vendors providing emergency response products and services. In times of crisis, the government is looking for quick and easy ways to purchase what they need and the General Services Administration (GSA) Schedules Program and Department of Veterans Affairs Federal Supply Schedules Program are the perfect vehicles for such purchasing. With pre-vetted products and services and pre-determined fair and reasonable pricing, GSA and VA Schedule holders will undoubtedly see an increase in sales for Coronavirus response products and services. This is especially true since President Trump signed a disaster declaration under the Stafford Act, which allows State and Local Government entities to purchase directly from GSA Schedule contracts via Disaster Purchasing, when otherwise they would not be eligible.
Facilities Maintenance & Industrial Products/Services
Agencies are actively seeking contractors to sanitize hospitals and other buildings affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Contractors should expect to see an increase in RFIs/RFQs/RFPs related to facilities maintenance and support, particularly for janitorial and sanitation services. Facilities supplies such as gloves, toilet tissue, paper towels, facial tissues and soaps will also be necessities for government buyers during an emergency virus outbreak. Additionally, government entities working to contain or prevent the spread of COVID-19 will inevitably need industrial products such as cleaning products, disinfectants and sterilizers.
The need for Information Technology products and services could increase. As offices and schools have begun to close for two or more weeks at a time, it is evident that teleworking could be a short-term (or long-term) solution for areas experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks. This could increase the need for IT support services and IT equipment as government employees begin to set up at-home offices. The need for Health IT Services is also likely to skyrocket as the government begins to collect health data, analytics and research related to the novel Coronavirus outbreak.
Hazardous waste disposal services are sure to be in high demand during the coming months. Additionally, government buyers are likely to seek contractors able to provide logistical services such as contingency planning and utilization of regional or global resources. It is possible that agencies could have a need to utilize Public Relations Services as they attempt to keep citizens up to date on COVID-19 developments. Also, with government events and industry days being cancelled left and right, it is possible that government agencies could seek the support of contractors for conference, meeting, event and trade show planning services.
Scientific Management and Solutions
Professional, scientific and technical consulting services via scientific researchers, biologists and research nurses are sure to be utilized during such a pandemic. Diagnostic, measuring and testing equipment as well as laboratory products will be in high demand as researchers study the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, government agencies have already begun soliciting breathing air equipment and respiratory protection products for affected patients.
Protective apparel and clothing such as hazardous material clothing like Tyvek suits, coveralls, goggles, face masks, shields and respirators are already in high demand.
VA Federal Supply Schedules
The VA Federal Supply Schedules Program was designed specifically with VA hospitals and healthcare services in mind. During a time of pandemic, VA Schedule holders should prepare for an increased need for their products and services. VA Schedules with high demand products and services related to COVID-19 are listed below.
- 621 I Professional and Allied Healthcare Services
- 621 II Medical Laboratory Testing and Analysis Services
- 65 I B Pharmaceuticals and Drugs
- 65 II A Medical Equipment and Supplies
- 65 VII Invitro Diagnostics, Reagents, Test Kits and Test Sets
- 66 III Clinical Analyzers, Laboratory, Cost-Per-Test
The best way GSA and VA contractors can help the Coronavirus pandemic is to be prepared! Federal and local governments have been allocated emergency funds to purchase products and services that GSA/VA contractors can deliver more quickly than non-Schedule holders. GSA Advantage has listed a notice stating, “Due to current heightened demand for products which could be associated with COVID-19, please contact the vendors prior to placing your order to confirm availability.” Begin increasing staffing and production processes as quickly as possible to ensure you can fulfill all government orders. Contractors, especially those with GSA and VA Schedules, are the government’s go-to in the fight against COVID-19.
About Morgan Taylor
Morgan Taylor is a Consultant for Winvale’s Professional Services Department. Her career at Winvale began in 2017 as a Business Development and Consulting Intern. Since 2018, Morgan has served as a full time Consultant with Winvale where she provides GSA Schedule acquisition and maintenance support to her clients. Morgan is a graduate of James Madison University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Affairs and Spanish Language and minors in Political Science and Latin American & Caribbean Studies. Morgan is currently a member of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA).