HHS-AHRQ-SBSS-20-10015 – Sources Sought – Support to Implement Increased Transparency of the Processes of the USPSTF

Aug 28, 2020 | Sources Sought

This is a Small Business Sources Sought notice (SBSS).  This is NOT a solicitation for proposals, proposal abstracts, or quotations.  The purpose of this notice is to obtain information regarding:  (1) the availability and capability of qualified small business sources; (2) whether they are small business; HUBZone small businesses; service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses; 8(a) small businesses; veteran-owned small businesses; woman-owned small businesses; or small disadvantaged businesses; and (3) their size classification relative to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code for the proposed acquisition.  Your responses to the information requested will assist the Government in determining the appropriate acquisition method, including whether a set-aside is possible.  An organization that is not considered a small business under the applicable NAICS code should not submit a response to this notice.

Project Description and Requirements:

Background

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF or Task Force) is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine. Since its inception in 1984, the Task Force has worked to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services and health promotion. These recommendations for adults and children address screening tests, counseling about healthful behaviors, and preventive medications.

Since 2009, the Task Force has focused on making its work as transparent as possible so that stakeholders and the public better understand and have more confidence in the approach of the Task Force. This also ensures that its work is open, credible, independent, and unbiased, and is recognized as such. By expanding opportunities for the public and stakeholders to engage in the process, the Task Force believes that its recommendations will be more accurate and relevant.

As a result of these efforts, stakeholders and the public can:

  • Nominate new members to serve on the Task Force
  • Nominate new topics for Task Force consideration or request an update of an existing topic
  • Provide comments on all draft research plans
  • Provide comments on all draft evidence reports
  • Provide comments on all draft recommendation statements

For additional information on the Task Force, its procedures including opportunities for public comment, and all documents (e.g., research plans; systematic evidence reviews and recommendation statements), please visit the USPSTF Procedure Manual at http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf08/methods/procmanual.htm.

The USPSTF also has recently redesigned its Web site (www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org) to enhance the look and feel, and functionality of the site.  The new Web site features an automated system for posting and receiving public comments on draft documents.  The redesigned Web site was made available March/April 2020.

The purpose of this requirement is to have a contractor support the aggregation, analysis, and synthesis of public comments for the USPSTF.

This project will require a contractor to:

  1. Develop tables for up to 30 – 45 postings each year. The tables shall include the  public comments received in response to USPSTF draft research plans, draft evidence reports and draft recommendation statements and shall be used by Principal Investigators at Evidence-based Practice Centers, Task Force and AHRQ staff. 
  2. Establish a methodology for coding the public comments received in response to USPSTF draft recommendation statements (e.g., develop a coding scheme and process for how coders would be trained, how agreement among coders will be determined, quality control measures, how the data will be analyzed and synthesized).
  3. Aggregate, review, analyze and synthesize public comments received in response to USPSTF draft recommendation statements.
  4. Write a report for all draft recommendation statements.
  5. Conduct an annual analysis of public comments across topics and write a report summarizing the results.

Project requirements

Below is a summary of the key anticipated requirements for this acquisition. Other tasks, including but not limited to, quarterly progress reports and monthly progress calls, transition plans, annual analysis of public comments across topics, will be in the final requirement. Respondents will be expected to have the ability to complete all tasks described below.

Reports on Draft USPSTF Research Plans and Evidence Reviews

The contractors shall aggregate into easily usable tables all of the public comments received in response to postings of USPSTF draft research plans and draft systematic evidence reviews.

  1. The Contractor shall develop weekly tables for use by Principal Investigators at Evidence- based Practice Centers that include all public comments received to date on draft research plans and draft systematic evidence reviews. The Contractor shall have access to the content management system (CMS) of the redesigned USPSTF Web site for aggregating and creating tables of all the public comments received. The CMS will generate a table of comments entered via the Web form for use by the Contractor. In addition, the Contractor shall add letters received in the mail, email, or uploaded to the Web site into the table of aggregated public comments.
  2. After the public comment period closes, the contractor shall provide final tables, for use by Principal Investigators at Evidence-based Practice Centers that include all public comments received on draft research plans and draft systematic evidence reviews.

The USPSTF anticipates posting 10 – 15 draft research plans and 10 – 15 draft systematic evidence reviews each year.

Reports on Draft Recommendation Statements

The Contractor shall aggregate, review, analyze and synthesize all the comments received during the public comment period for all draft recommendation statements and produce a report that includes, but is not limited to, the following sections:

  1. The Contractor shall develop weekly tables for use by AHRQ Medical Officer that include all public comments received up to that date on draft recommendation statements. The Contractor shall have access to the content management system (CMS) of the redesigned USPSTF Web site for aggregating and creating tables for all the public comments received. The CMS will generate a table of comments entered via the Web form for use by the Contractor. In addition, the Contractor shall add letters received in the mail, email, or uploaded to the Web site into the table of aggregated public comments.

In the weekly tables, the Contractor shall provide all the public comments, with a unique ID, question number, type of respondent, the actual comment and the content code(s). They shall remove any empty cells, e.g., if a respondent only enters comments in response to questions 1, 3 and 5, the empty cells associated with questions 2, 4 and 6 would be deleted. These tables should be sorted by respondent, i.e., answers to all questions for Respondent 1 would be shown in sequential rows.

  1. For draft recommendations that receive comments from 25 or fewer respondents, the contractor shall provide a summary of the findings and suggested disposition of the themes no later than 2 weeks after the comment period closes. At minimum the summary report shall include: Summary Report that will include at minimum:
    1. Summary of Respondents, Responses, and Themes – the contractor shall provide the total number of comments received, the distribution of comments by respondent type, a list of organizations that provided comments, a list of USPSTF Partner organizations that provided comments, a summary of the number of respondents who agreed or disagreed with the draft recommendation statement, and the themes of the public comments using the approved methodology described below.  The number of comments to the Draft Evidence Report shall also be provided. The number of suggested references should also be included.
    2. Comprehensive Table of Public Comments on Draft Recommendation Statement – final table of all public comments received in the format described above.
    3. Reference Disposition Table – a disposition table of all citations for additional studies listed in the public comments that includes: the full citation provided, whether the study was included, excluded or not considered in the systematic evidence review (this information is provided as part of the systematic evidence review) and a disposition for the reference, e.g., excluded due to study design (Letter to the Editor; Opinion Piece; Clinical Guideline, etc.).
  2. For draft recommendations that receive comments from more than 25 respondents, the contractor shall identify major themes as a result of reviewing and synthesizing all the comments including a general description of the theme and suggestions for revisions to the draft recommendation statement that would address the themes/major concerns expressed in the public comments. This shall be provided no later than 2 weeks after the comment period closes. For draft recommendations receiving more than 200 comments the contractor shall provide no later than 4 weeks after the comment period closes. At minimum the full report shall include:
    1. Summary of Respondents, Responses, and References – the contractor shall provide the total number of comments received on the Draft Recommendation Statement, the distribution of comments by respondent type, a list of organizations that provided comments, a list of USPSTF Partner organizations that provided comments, and  the nature of the public comments received (e.g., whether respondents agreed/disagreed with the draft recommendation statement), and the number and types of references suggested by respondents.  The number of comments to the Draft Evidence Report shall also be provided. The number and nature of suggested references should also be included.
    2. Themes Memo (Summary of Findings and Recommendations)– using the approved qualitative methodology, the Contractor shall summarize comments received by describing the themes that emerged in the review of the public comments to the Draft Recommendation Statement. For each theme, the Contractor shall note any variation by respondent type, and highlight any comments that are related specifically to revisions to the draft recommendation statement that would address the themes/major concerns expressed in the public comments.  A Preliminary Themes Memo shall be provided no later than 2 weeks after the comment period closes.  For topics receiving more than 200 comments, the Contractor shall provide the memo no later than 4 weeks after the comment period closes. 
    3. Quotes Table – the contractor shall provide a table that highlights specific comments from respondents that illustrate the major themes/concerns identified during the review and synthesis of all public comments. 
    4. Methods – the contractor shall provide a section describing the methods for reviewing and synthesizing all the public comments.  This should include, but is not limited to, how a coding scheme was developed, how coders were trained, how agreement among coders was determined, what quality control measures will be used, and how the data are analyzed and synthesized. The contractor shall also provide the codebook that was used to code the data.
    5. Comments of Particular Importance – the contract shall identify and highlight comments that raise salient issues to which the USPSTF might want to give particular attention
    6. Attachments will include:

      • Comprehensive Table of Public Comments for the Draft Recommendation Statement – final table of public comments to the draft recommendation statement that also includes information about how each response was coded using the established codebook.
      • Comprehensive Table of Public Comments for the Draft Evidence Review – final table of public comments to the draft evidence review.
      • Draft Recommendation Statement Reference Disposition Table – same as described for the summary table above.
      • Draft Evidence Review Reference Disposition Table – same as described for the summary table above.   

The USPSTF anticipates posting 10 – 15 Draft Recommendation Statements. 

Anticipated Period of Performance:

This contract has a base year plus three option years (July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2025).  The work performed in the base year will be the same as the work performed in the option years, if the government decides to exercise the options.

Other Important Considerations:

The successful aggregation, analysis, and synthesis of public comments to support the USPSTF’s recommendation statement development process requires an in-depth understanding of the work of the USPSTF, clinical preventive services, the development of evidence-based guidelines and working with groups that develop them. It requires an understanding of the relevant issues and controversies in working with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force including making evidence-based recommendations on clinical preventive services.  Capability statements are expected to identify areas where this may be relevant.

Information Sought:

The tailored response to this Small Business Sources Sought notice should include the following sections and describe the requested information below.

Respondents must provide, as part of their responses, information concerning:

  1. Staff expertise, including their availability, experience, and formal and other training, on topics including:
    1. Evidence-based recommendations in primary care
    2. USPSTF processes, scope, role, and the history of the Task Force
    3. Stakeholder input on scientific research and the public comment process
    4. Qualitative research methods and analysis
  2. Current in-house capability and capacity to perform the work, including:
    1. Develop tables for up to 30 – 45 draft research plans, draft evidence reports and draft recommendation statements postings each year.
    2. Analyze public comments for 10-15 draft recommendations each year, including methods for synthesis, identification of themes, reporting, and addressing challenges when analyzing and reporting qualitative data.
    3. Completion of requirement with demonstrated understanding  of timing, impact, and stakeholder engagement as it relates to the Task Force;
  3. Corporate experience and management capability;
  4. Prior completed projects of similar size; and
  5. Examples of prior completed Government contracts, references, and other related information.

Contractors must describe their capacity and experience as it relates to the project requirements described above.

Information Submission Instructions:

Interested qualified small business organizations should submit a tailored capability statement for this requirement.

The cover page must include the following:

  • DUNS number
  • Organization name
  • Organization address
  • Size and type of business (e.g., 8(a), HUBZone, etc.) pursuant to NAICS code 541990.
  • Technical point(s) of contact, including names, titles, addresses, telephone, and e-mail addresses.

All Capability Statements sent in response to this SMALL BUSINESS SOURCES SOUGHT notice must be submitted electronically (via e-mail) to Scott Henderson, Contract Specialist, scott.henderson@ahrq.hhs.gov in MS Word, or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), no later than 5:00 PM on September 11, 2020. Responses should not exceed 15 single-sided pages (including  the cover page, all attachments, resumes, charts, etc.) presented in single-space and using a 12-point font size minimum, that clearly details the ability to perform the aspects of the notice described above.

Disclaimer and Important Notes:

This notice does not obligate the Government to award a contract or otherwise pay for the information provided in response.  The Government reserves the right to use information provided by respondents for any purpose deemed necessary and legally appropriate.  Any organization responding to this notice should ensure that its response is complete and sufficiently detailed to allow the Government to determine the organization’s qualifications to perform the work.  Respondents are advised that the Government is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted.  After a review of the responses received, a pre-solicitation synopsis and solicitation will be published in Federal Business Opportunities.  However, responses to this notice will not be considered adequate responses to a solicitation.

Confidentiality:

No proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should be included in your response.  The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s).

This content is provided for members of the U.S. Veteran Business Alliance by Bidspeed

Bidspeed helps small business contractors win government contracts by dynamically combining several thousand publicly available data sources to provide detailed information and intelligence to government contractors, agencies, and advocacy organizations.