GSA Has Created a Separate Category for Companies Selling Health IT Services – Creating an Unparalleled Opportunity for Such Companies to Sell to Federal Agencies

Arnall Golden Gregory LLP

Health Information Technology (“IT”) is one of the fastest-growing fields in the IT industry, in part due to a spurt of government technology modernization initiatives. After seeing skyrocketing demand across federal government agencies for the past several years, the U.S. General Services Administration (“GSA”) decided to prioritize Health IT as its own separate category within GSA Schedule 70 by establishing Health IT Special Item Number (“SIN”) 132-56. The new SIN was officially established on August 1, 2016. It is the first SIN of its kind directly correlated to Health IT in compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”).

This new SIN category will give Health IT companies access to business with federal government agencies including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Defense Health Agency (a joint integrated Combat Support Agency that enables the U.S Army, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Air Force medical services to provide a medically ready force and ready medical force to Combatant Commands in both peacetime and wartime). As military and civilian healthcare reforms take effect, GSA expects these agencies’ demand to continue to grow.

Part of the justification for establishing a separate category is that Health IT is truly different -- in that companies involved in the Health IT industry require very specific skillsets and have to comply with various healthcare security standards, including the Privacy Act of 1974, Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (“HITECH”) Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPPA”).

The Health IT SIN will encompass numerous healthcare specialties, including: 

  • Connected health; 
  • Electronic health records; 
  • Health information exchanges; 
  • Health analytics; 
  • Personal health information management; 
  • Innovative Health IT solutions; 
  • Health informatics; 
  • Emerging Health IT research; 
  • Mobile Health IT; 
  • Electronic prescribing and telehealth platforms; 
  • Medical sensors;
  • Remote monitoring devices; and 
  • Assistive technologies.

Because the requirements of healthcare-providing agencies are so specific, GSA has created this separate SIN to assist federal agencies in identifying qualified Health IT companies. Health IT companies which are not on GSA Schedule 70 must submit new offers whereas pre-vetted Health IT companies which are already on GSA Schedule 70 need only modify their existing GSA Schedule to offer SIN 132-56 to potential federal government customers. The creation of this separate SIN creates a unique opportunity for Health IT companies to “stand out” from among the many thousands of IT companies currently on GSA Schedule 70 and, therefore, should not be overlooked as Health IT companies develop their marketing plans.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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