WASHINGTON: The Department of Health and Human Services has assigned Porter Novelli an integrated campaign for Medicare’s open enrollment program with a budget of $47.7 million.
The assignment was the first significant award from a $900 million indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract from the Department of Health and Human Services. Porter has been tasked with communications planning, speech and media preparation, paid and earned media support, media relations, and social media development, among others duties.
Porter was the first agency to which the department’s Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services assigned a significant task as part of its communications agency IDIQ, according to a federal procurement database and a CMS spokesperson. The $47.7 million budget is for the first year of the contract; CMS has an option to add two years.
"CMS has a long-standing relationship with us, and we’re very proud," said Maggie May Graham, VP of global health at Porter. She added that the open enrollment project fits with the Omnicom Group agency’s emphasis on work with a social purpose.
The IDIQ, assigned to Porter, Edelman, Ketchum, and Weber Shandwick, has a maximum budget of $900 million through 2025. CMS awarded the contract to the four agencies to provide communications support for Medicare in general, the Medicare Marketplace, education about Medicare fraud, the new Medicare card, and other CMS programs. The original IDIQ pact, signed in 2011, expired at the end of August.
The previous iteration of the IDIQ agency roster consisted of Ketchum, Ogilvy, Porter, Weber, and FleishmanHillard.
An IDIQ contract allows a government agency to essentially prequalify a pool of vendors for similar types of work and call on those companies by issuing "task orders," or requests for specific projects.
"The IDIQ is specifically designed to allow us to be nimble and do a bid based on particular tasks that we need," said Johnathan Monroe, director of the CMS media relations group.
CMS also issued several smaller task orders on August 31, including a second for Porter with a budget of more than $14,000. Other tasks have been assigned to Edelman for nearly $16,000, to Weber for more than $13,000, and to Ketchum for more than $10,000.
Additional details about the task orders were not included on the procurement website. The CMS spokesman declined to specify each firm’s responsibilities.
Weber declined to comment about the contract. Both Edelman and Ketchum did not return requests for comment.