HHS agency looking to consolidate PR roster

WASHINGTON: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is consolidating its PR contractor roster in an effort to save money.

WASHINGTON: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is consolidating its PR contractor roster in an effort to save money.

The federal agency is a part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The first step in the process was the release of a “sources sought” request, which is serving as a precursor to an RFP that will be eventually released. The federal agency distributed the document to see if there are enough small business vendors capable of running national outreach, public education, and engagement initiatives.

Agencies have until December 17 to provide information that showcases their capabilities in running national outreach efforts. Depending on the quality of those responses, a decision will be made on whether small or large firms will be eligible to respond to a forthcoming RFP, according to Lynn Tantardini, director of the division of contract management for the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration.

Unlike an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ), which establishes a roster of firms, only one agency will ultimately be selected for the work, Tantardini said. This shop will replace “a handful” of firms the federal agency now works with. She did not name the organizations on its roster.

In the past, the federal agency has worked with Edelman, Vanguard Communications, North American Management, Widmeyer Communications, and Deutsch on outreach.

The impetus for this action comes as the Obama Administration has encouraged federal agencies to consolidate work being done on “like” activities.

“If you have a campaign for underage drinking and another for recovery month, why can't one contractor do that? The topic shouldn't matter,” Tantardini said.

Ultimately, the winning firm will be awarded a one-year contract with two option years. The agreement will cover communications support for efforts such as its national underage drinking-prevention campaign, which tailors educational efforts to parents of children ages 9 to 15, according to the source notice.

The “sources sought” request came just days after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services posted a similar document for a multicultural marketing and communications campaign for the Affordable Care Act.

Responses to that request are due December 14. In May, CMS chose Sensis and Campbell & Company with the goal of reaching Hispanic and black consumers, respectively, about the bill.

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