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The HHSPulse Newsletter

Volume 7 Issue 26 (PDF 2MB, en Español)

In this volume, you will learn about

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Reflections From The Director

Debbie Ridgely
OSDBU Director

I want to take a moment to look back on where we started, recognize how far we have come and set our sights on a promising future. I will retire from government service after 34 years, effective October 1, 2011. For over ten years I have had the privilege of being the HHS OSDBU Director.

One of the first ideas that I implemented was to conduct the monthly Vendor Outreach Sessions, with the full participation of each of the Small Business Specialists, who supported the Operating Divisions of HHS. Having everyone together in one spot, at one time, was a huge efficiency for both the vendor community as well as, the internal staff.

Seven years ago, the OSDBU office was consolidated under my leadership. Each of the Small Business Specialists, who were co-located in the Operating Divisions, would now have a direct reporting relationship to the OSDBU Director. We were all responsible for carrying out the small business program and now the business model was streamlined to operate with one voice. The consolidation improved the operation for the internal community as well as, the external community. The Operating Divisions received seamless support since there was always a Small Business Specialist available to work with them; even if someone was on leave. Having the specialists responsible for more than one Operating Division broadened their breadth and depth of experience at HHS. To this day, we are the only Executive Agency that uses this business model. I am very proud of what I was able to accomplish with the support of senior leadership at HHS.

We hired an outside contractor to conduct a Climate Assessment of our Small Business Program. As such, we were able to implement numerous improvements which are still on-going and cover: improved procurement forecast of opportunities on the web in a single location, improved communications, such as this newsletter and improved training of both our acquisition and program office staff.

The HHS OSDBU instituted a Mentor-Protégé Program and that is something I want to see prosper and expand. In FY 2011, HHS has generated contract awards to over 718 small businesses that have not had a contract with HHS in the past. Diversifying our vendor base is what makes a difference to all of us. “Small Business is the Heart of our Economy.”

I leave the office on a positive note and I want to publicly thank and acknowledge my great staff. It does not happen without each and every one of you. Your dedication to the small business program is noteworthy. I also want to acknowledge the participation and support I have received from the business community. Your willing input and honest voices continue to help us improve. The journey has had its challenges but every great journey does. I want to wish everyone much success in your future endeavors!

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7th Annual National Veterans Small Business Conference and Exposition

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) participated at the 7th Annual National Veterans Small Business Conference and Exposition in New Orleans, LA on August 15 - 18, 2011.

Besides the location, there was another noticeable difference at this year’s conference, VetGovPartner. VetGovPartner is the new Matchmaking portal and social network for the 2011 National Veteran Small Business Conference. VetGovPartner is a fully-integrated web application designed to facilitate matchmaking, partnering and networking among attendees before, during and after the Conference. The portal enabled attendees to view, create, sign up and track conference Matchmaking sessions between small businesses, large businesses and Government partners.

New conference procedures and a new location notwithstanding, this year’s National Veterans Small Business Conference and Exposition was a well attended event, with approximately 4,000 individuals registered and 400 Exhibitors in attendance.
The OSDBU team, consisting of four Small Business Specialists, shared the responsibilities of maintaining the HHS/OSDBU Exhibit Booth, as well as, counseling attendees during the matchmaking sessions. One of the added values is the HHS’ Specialists are able to attend at least one training session during the conference.

Representatives from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), participated at this year’s conference. Ms. Mary Armstead, Director, NIH Information Technology Acquisition and Assistance Center (NITAAC), and Ms. Susan Nsangou, Senior Contracting Officer at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, participated at the conference by hosting training sessions and speaking with attendees at the HHS/OSDBU Exhibit Booth. Ms. Armstead held two sessions on the NITAAC Government-wide Acquisition Contracts vehicles while Ms. Nsangou hosted a session on taking steps to communicating with program and contracting officials.

Mr. Steve Zangwill, the Senior Advisor to the Head of the Contracting Activity for HRSA, participated at the conference, speaking with attendees at the HHS/OSDBU Exhibit Booth.

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Minority Institutions of Higher Education & Minority-Owned Small Business


About This Workshop

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Secretary (OS), Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) provides information for organizations interested in doing business with the Federal Government. A series of government contracting (govcon) workshops are being held in a variety of locations throughout the United States to provide information to Minority Institutions of Higher Education (MIHE) staff and Minority Owned Small Business (MOSB) representatives to 1) become familiar with processes and procedures associated with federal government contracting; and 2) to identify and pursue contract opportunities with HHS. The objective of these workshops is to engage, equip and inform the MIHE and MOSB participants of the federal procurement process so that they become more effective in pursuing contracting opportunities at HHS.

Cost: FREE

Workshop Dates & Locations

Please check OSDBU’s website for upcoming dates and locations.

Additional Information/Registration

For more information and to register, visit For businesses, there is a limit of two representatives per company per workshop.

If you have questions regarding the event, please contact us at


The synopsis of the agenda is below. The full agenda is available on the website.

Day One

  • Introduction to Government Contracting
  • Understanding Procurement Methods
  • The Government’s Internal Process
  • Small Business Classifications & Certification Programs
  • Guest Speaker
  • Other Business Opportunities
  • Marketing to the Government & HHS

Day Two

  • Introduction to FAR and Compliance Issues
  • Contract Pricing & Cost Proposals
  • Guest Speaker
  • Technical Proposals

Who Should Attend?

MOSBs and MIHEs that are interested in pursuing government contracts or who have initiated the process, but have not yet been successful should attend a workshop. This includes business owners, MIHE faculty and staff.

I work for a MIHE. Why Should I Attend?

In this economy, Institutions need additional sources of funding. The Federal Government is an excellent resource to fund and get grants for research projects. MIHE faculty and staff should attend a workshop so they understand the government contracting environment and have the tools necessary to navigate the government processes.

This is a Two-Day Event. I’m a Teacher and Can’t Afford to Miss Classes.

We understand that class schedules may overlap with the workshop schedule. There is no requirement to attend the entire workshop. Come to the session(s) that are convenient for your schedule.

I already know the basics of government contracting. How will this workshop help me?

You may be familiar with the basics; however this workshop will develop deeper. You will also gain insight about the proposal development process, which will position you to submit compliant proposals.

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Web Sites to Bookmark

Women-Owned Businesses Links:

Small Business Administration:

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Events Calendar

  • October 6, 2011
    (DC Area) The Society of American Military Engineers is hosting a Small Business Conference

    Fort Belvoir Officer’s Club, Fort Belvoir, Virginia
    Please visit or contact Ms. Tawania Mcfadden at (301) 661-4018 or via email at for additional information.
  • October 18, 2011
    American Express OPEN’s Government Contracting Program will host a government procurement event

    Dallas Marriot City Center, Dallas, TX.
    Please visit for additional information.
  • October 20, 2011
    The 6th Annual Veterans Business Conference, sponsored by Congressman Silvestre Reyes & the El Paso Small Business Consortium

    El Paso Community College, El Paso, Texas
    Please contact Mr. Joseph R. Conway at (915) 831-7748 or via email at for additional information.
  • October 30 - November 2, 2011
    2011 National Minority Supplier Development Council Conference & Business Opportunity Fair

    Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Georgia
    Please visit for additional information.
  • November 10, 2011
    The Virginia Gateway Region Economic Development Organization, in cooperation with the SBA & others will be sponsoring a Veterans & Small Business Conference

    Location TBD, Washington, DC
    Please contact Ms. Joanne W. Tompkins at (804) 861-1667 or via email at for additional information.

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We Want to Hear from You!

Tell us what you think about the latest issue of HHS Pulse. Let us know about current topics and emerging issues that are of interest to you. Please email us at:

SAMSHA Inspires CORE to Develop a Unique Solution in Electronic Health Records

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMSHA) vision regarding the future of health care inspired Ravi Ganesan, President of Core Solutions, Inc. (CORE), to create an innovative product which is now providing real time data from millions of health care clients in three states. The data is then consolidated and sent to SAMSHA. Dr. H. Westley Clark, SAMSHA Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, shared his vision on the future of health care in an informal meeting which included Anne Herron, SAMSHA Director of Division of State and Community Assistance and other staff members. This informal conversational exchange helped CORE understand the needs at the federal, state and county level. “Dr. Clark galvanized us,” said Ganesan. “When someone is passionate, it rubs off on you. You feel the need to do something. He challenged us to develop new solutions. As a result, we created and implemented a new product which is the market leader in Electronic Health Records (EHR). ”

The CORE Cx360 is the first (and perhaps only) cross agency case management system that includes an EHR in the market today. The product is unique in that it provides the ability for any county, state or federal agency to collect and manage case data in all areas of healthcare. Furthermore it allows this data to move, intact and in real time, to other agencies. “For example, if a child is being serviced in a “Birth to 3” program and also interacting with the health department, the education department and the welfare department – a single record for that child is created and updated across all agencies. Data collection efforts (and potential errors) are minimized, thereby reducing costs and staff time while vastly improving outcomes,” explained Ganesan. “All agencies working with that child and their family have complete and current data that provide for a more comprehensive and effective continuum of care while controlling costs,” he added.

Working regularly with SAMSHSA staff has assisted CORE in anticipating what needs are not being met. “As a small business, our advantage is that we can develop and implement new products quickly to meet market needs,” stated Ganesan.

“We look forward to continued growth as we enhance the Cx360 system. We are particularly appreciative of the advice we’ve received over the last two years from management and staff at SAMSHSA and in particular Dr. Westley Clark and Ms. Anne Herron,” Ganesan added.

Philadelphia Business Magazine recognized CORE as one of Philadelphia’s fasting growing privately held corporations in 2010. The company also caught the interest of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, a national, award winning model for technology innovation invested in innovative enterprises. They have provided financial backing to CORE.

Founded in 1999, Core Solutions, Inc. (CORE) is a market leader in providing electronic health records (EHR) technology for the behavioral healthcare and human services industries. Headquartered outside of Philadelphia, CORE offers a comprehensive enterprise suite designed to fit the needs of its clients and brings providers the training, services, and expertise, which are a result of more than ten years of experience. The company’s solutions securely automate the collection, distribution, processing, reporting, and analysis of administrative, financial, and clinical client data for internal staff and external stakeholders. CORE is a Small & Disadvantaged Business. For more information visit:

Have a question?

Please visit our FAQ page for answers:

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SCG Small Business Success Story

Signature Consulting Group, LLC (SCG) is a Health IT management-consulting firm, which provides policy, operations, and system management consulting and delivery services to Government and Not-for-Profit Organizations.

SCG has been awarded key contracts in all three of the major health legislative acts to impact the US Healthcare System over the past decade; the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003 for the Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD), the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 for the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH), and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010. SCG is responsible for developing and managing the national meaningful use of health information technology audit and data validation strategy for the HITECH program. SCG developed the quality measures system, which tracks and reports quality metrics and performance results from the implementation of the ACA health reform legislation to White House and HHS Leadership.

SCG has worked extensively with the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) in the areas of financial management; fraud waste and abuse detection, auditing and operations evaluations, business and data analysis, project management, and system integration. CMS has awarded SCG eight prime contracts. SCG has also been a subcontractor to more than twelve contracts at HHS, CMS, and the Office of National Coordinator (ONC).

SCG had its start working with several BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) Plans providing Health Specialist and project support. SCG combined Healthcare expertise and information systems knowledge to provide broad and adaptive operational and system solutions to BlueCross BlueShield Health plans. Working with mid to large size Health Plans, SCG further developed its health operations expertise along with technical Health IT capabilities. By applying the experience and expertise gained in its work with the BCBS plans including plan operations, health administration, and system integration, SCG successfully transitioned from the private sector into government consulting. SCG now plays an integral role supporting Health and Human Services (HHS) with the implementation of major health legislation.

“At Signature Consulting Group, we have the expertise to be able to treat both the problems and the solutions as a whole,” states Corey Cooke, President of SCG. “With a multi-faceted approach to each problem, we are able to build the best solution thereby providing tangible results to a project.” With SCG’s unique ability to fully understand aspects of both the health operations and the systems side of problems, it can effectively develop solutions to both.

SCG’s dual health and system expertise assisted CMS in the analysis of premium withhold data in the Medicare Program to develop a business intelligence solution across 70 databases, which provides CMS users with a consolidated and acute view into plan payment activity. Chellam Manickam, SCG’s Vice President of Technology, has been instrumental in setting up practice areas that ensure technical solutions are rooted in practical business objectives and effective health operations. Combining health management and clinical expertise with the latest in technology and system integration has allowed SCG to stay at the forefront of Government Health IT efforts to modernize and improve healthcare delivery.

SCG has continually been awarded prime contracts with CMS due to its ability to stay current on Federal healthcare initiatives and IT strategies. Mr. Cooke’s vision for SCG has been to develop a company dedicated to providing business-focused management consulting in health management and information services to clients. Mr. Cooke attributes SCG’s ability to provide value to its clients through a number of key internal measures:

  • Continual employee learning and development through training and establishment of company industry knowledgebase in the areas of health and IT management, which has in turn attracted and retained a high caliber of health and technical employees, providing them with a broader base of expertise in problem solving and serving clients
  • Partnering with established and proven organizations to learn from and fill in gaps in capabilities and expertise
  • Clearly defined practice areas of services: Governance and Program Management; Quality Management and Validation
  • Financial Management; Health IT and Interoperability; and Business Intelligence and Data Management.
  • Established processes and reusable methods.

With internal measures in place, SCG looks to establish highly productive partnerships with companies in the two worlds of contracting: the healthcare support companies that provide regulatory, policy and clinical expertise; and pure play IT companies that supply system development services. Working with partners broadens not only SCG’s qualified resource pool, but also the company’s capabilities. “Signature Consulting Group understands that the client directly benefits from partnering with the correct company on any given project. We are very successful at creating these productive alliances, because we consistently strive to establish positive ongoing communication, awareness, and knowledge of peer companies in the field,” says Sam Elias, SCG Vice President of Business Development.

SCG has successfully partnered with Accenture on HITECH auditing to provide structured and proven process for strategy development and has partnered with Logistics Management Institute (LMI) for technical management of the largest Federal Taradata implementation of a fraud waste and abuse detection system with users across federal law enforcement agencies.
SCG is dedicated to defining and using flexible processes that can be tailored to most types of analysis project in healthcare administration or system development. SCG library of frameworks include: Project Management; Analysis solutions (requirements, business, information, and system architecture); Quality Assurance; Procurement Management; and Security Management.
SCG’s success can be attributed to the founder’s established vision for the company and by its adherence to the proven measures for organizational improvement and client satisfaction. SCG was established in 2004 and is a designated Small & Disadvantaged 8(a), Minority Owned Small Business located in Maryland.

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Contracting Oportunities

OPDIVProduct/Service Description:Estimated Value:Contact Person:Contact Information:ESR*:Competition Type:Procurement Category:NAICS:
CDCGeospatial Science Consulting Support for Public Health Applications for GIS$5,000,001 to $10,000,000Andrew Dent(770) 488-38611st QTR 2011GSA ScheduleIT Services541511
CDCSIMAN Development Contract$500,001 to $1,000,000Gretchen Floreno(404) 639-15341st QTR 2011GSA ScheduleIT Services541511
CDCORISE Sharepoint$100,000 to $500,000Ronald Ottem(404) 639-25761st QTR 2011GSA ScheduleIT Services541511
CDCDivision of Strategic National Stockpile (DSNS). Exeternal Consultants - Evaulation Program - OD-BC$1,000,001 to $5,000,000Steven Adams(404) 639-06921st QTR 2011GSA ScheduleTechnical Assistance541990
FDAProject Management Team - Task order under the CDER-wide IDIQ contract to be awarded in FY11 for quality management systems$10,000,001 and above  1st QTR 2012TBDBusiness Services56
FDAProgram Management Team - Task order under the CDER-wide IDIQ contract to be awarded in FY11 for quality management systems$10,000,001 and above  1st QTR 2012TBDBusiness Services56
FDADecision and Social Science, Outcomes Research and other Disciplines Contract (new Task Order 8 - Patient Focused Drug Development)$1,000,001 to $5,000,000  1st QTR 2012TBDBusiness Services56
FDACanon Copier Maintenance Contract$1,000,001 to $5,000,000  1st QTR 2012TBDBusiness Services56
FDACDRH to discuss seasonal concept of program analysts to assist in development of complex full and open acquisitions requirements for six month temporary services. Projects range from R&D to IT.$100,000 to $500,000  1st QTR 2012TBDBusiness Services56
FDAThis is for Peer Review Support for Scientific Information Disseminated by CFSAN/FDA.$500,001 to $1,000,000  1st QTR 2012GSA ScheduleBusiness Services81
FDACampaign Evaluation Services$10,000,001 and above  1st QTR 2012GSA ScheduleBusiness Services81
FDATechnical Assistance for Data Management$1,000,001 to $5,000,000  1st QTR 2012GSA ScheduleBusiness Services54
FDAPurchasing of Marketing Data$1,000,001 to $5,000,000  1st QTR 2012GSA ScheduleBusiness Services54
FDADevelopment of standards for track and trace and authentication through research and analyses of current systems and assessment of data carrier technology.$100,000 to $500,000  1st QTR 2012GSA ScheduleBusiness Services54
FDAContract a study to compare foreign and FDA labeling for possible eligible drugs and determine significant differences$100,000 to $500,000  1st QTR 2012GSA ScheduleBusiness Services54
FDAFY12 User Fee Assessment/Cost Analysis$10,000,001 and above  1st QTR 2012TBDBusiness Services54
FDANew procurement for UFMS site support for FDA$10,000,001 and above  1st QTR 2012TBDBusiness Services54
FDAEscendent- I-Procurement Support$100,000 to $500,000  1st QTR 2012TBDBusiness Services54
FDAEscendent- User Fee Consultant$100,000 to $500,000  1st QTR 2012TBDBusiness Services54
FDAUFMS Testing and Change Control Support (BTT TO #__)$10,000,001 and above  1st QTR 2012TBDBusiness Services54
FDAOFO Business Continuity Plan (BTT TO #__)$10,000,001 and above  1st QTR 2012TBDBusiness Services54
FDACompetitive Sourcing Services to include Post Study Accountability & Modification of FY07 & FY08 FDA MEOs Exercise Option Year of MAI Contract #GS23F8056H$1,000,001 to $5,000,000  1st QTR 2012GSA ScheduleBusiness Services54
FDAJanitorial Services for Dauphin Island, AL. w/ Unique Cleaning Services$100,000 to $500,000  1st QTR 2012GSA ScheduleBusiness Services54
FDAJanitorial Services Contract # HHSF22320101171P for Dauphin Island, AL. w/ Unique Cleaning Services$100,000 to $500,000  1st QTR 2012GSA ScheduleBusiness Services54
FDASan Juan Operations and Maintenance Contract for New Award$500,001 to $1,000,000  1st QTR 2012TBDBusiness Services54


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