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Federal Contracts: Doing Business with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs


Federal Contracts: Doing Business with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs

“The United States has the most comprehensive system of assistance for Veterans of any nation around the world.”[i] The concept of Veteran’s assistance can be traced back to 1636 when the first Pilgrims, then at war with the Pequot Indians, passed a law stating soldiers who became disabled in the war should be supported in the aftermath of the conflict.i Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs provides services to more than 27 million Veterans. The Department is made up of 152 hospitals, 800 community-based outpatient clinics, 126 nursing home care units, 35 domiciliaries and 147 national cemeteries located around the United States.

A Brief History of the VA

      • 1776: The Continental Congress encouraged enlistment for the Revolutionary War by providing pensions to disabled soldiers.
          • During the early days of the Republic, individual states and communities were responsible for providing medical and hospital care to Veterans.
      • 1811: Federal government authorized the first domiciliary and medical facility for veterans.
          • Veteran assistance program expanded to include benefits and pensions to widows and soldiers’ dependents.
      • After the Civil War, state Veterans homes were created to provide treatment for incidental medical and hospital treatment for all injuries and diseases suffered by soldiers.
      • 1917: At the beginning of World War I, Congress established a new system of veteran benefits, including programs for disability compensation insurance for service personnel and vets and vocational rehabilitation for the disabled.
      • 1920s: Three different federal agencies administered benefits: The Veteran’s Bureau, the Bureau of Pensions of the Interior Department and the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.
      • 1921: All WWI programs were combined to form the Veterans Bureau.
          • As a result of WWI, soldiers required specialized care due to exposure to mustard gas and other chemical weapons. Because Veterans were suffering from respiratory and/or mental health problems, new Tuberculosis and neuropsychiatric hospitals were opened to offer treatment for these ailments.
          • The majority of VA hospitals and medical centers began as National Home, Public Health Service or Veterans Bureau hospitals.
      • 1928: the National Homes extended admission to women, as well as National Guard and militia Veterans.
      • 1930: A second consolidation of Veterans programs created the Veterans Administration.
      • After WWII, the GI Bill was signed into law, providing new funding for education and training for veterans.
      • 1989: The Veterans Administration changed its name to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(Source: N.p. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. History About the VA. 4 Oct. 2016. Web. 11 Oct. 2016)

Doing Business with the Department of Veterans Affairs

Goods and services for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs are purchased at the national, regional and local level. A wide variety of products and services are needed by the complex system of hospitals, clinics, Veterans integrated service networks, data processing centers and national cemeteries that make up the VA.

Importantly, each VA facility has its own internal procurement process. Each facility procures items through competitive sealed bidding, in-depth negotiation and simplified acquisition procedures, all of which promote open and fair competition for VA procurement contracts. Most supply contracts related to VA medical centers are for definite-delivery/indefinite quantity purchases.

Open contracts at the federal level can be found either through fedbizopps.gov or through the Federal Supply Schedule (FSS). Some examples of contract opportunities that can be found for the Department of Veterans Affairs include:

      • Medical and surgical equipment and supplies
      • Perishable subsistence
      • Equipment, supplies and materials for facility operations
      • Building construction, maintenance and repairs
      • Prosthetic and orthopedic aids
      • Medical gases

The VA also supports fair competition for small businesses and MWBEs, including Veteran-owned, Service-Disabled Veteran-owned and small disadvantaged businesses. The Department also offers outreach and support for small business owners through the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization program.

Certified businesses are encouraged to contact the Office to learn more about procurement opportunities, as well as to benefit from guidance and counseling for bidding on federal contracts with the VA.

Danielle Calamaras | BidNet.com



[i] N.p. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. History About the VA. 4 Oct. 2016. Web. 11 Oct. 2016

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