SYSTEM DESIGN BIDDING PROCESS HAS OPPORTUNITY FOR COMMENT

On June 28, the Health Care Reform Commission will choose the bidder it will recommend to be chosen to design three options for Vermont healthcare systems. That recommendation will go to the Joint Fiscal Committee, which will decide on June 29 which architect to hire.

To further transparency, participation, and accountability, The People's Team has been closely watching the Health Care Reform Commission and the process for selecting an architect to design the three healthcare system options for Vermont. We have asked for the criteria and process by which the selection will be made. We have asked for copies of the bids themselves, and we have asked for an opportunity to comment before the architect is chosen. We just received a response today to these requests.

The process is spelled out somewhat on the Health Care Reform Commission website. http://www.leg.state.vt.us/CommissiononHealthCareReform/default.htm (Click on request for proposal/RFP).

Bids are due on June 21.

COMMENTS ON THE BID EVALUATION FORMS:
June 22: The evaluation form to be used by the Commission members will be on the Commission website at http://www.leg.state.vt.us/jfo/Healthcare%20Study%20Design.htm.

The Commission will be taking comments on the evaluation form. Comments are due to healthcomments@leg.state.vt.us no later than June 25, 2010 at noon, so that the Commission can
review the comments prior to the its meeting on June 28th.
Bidders: The names of the bidders will also be posted to the web on 6/22 at the same website. The bids themselves, with claimed proprietary information redacted, will only be available to the public after selection of an architect. The Commission's staff member, Jim Hester, says this is consistent with how the executive branch does things.

COMMENTS ON THE BIDDERS:
Anyone who has information about any of the teams’ [bidder's] expertise or experience, reputation, or previous work, is requested by the Commission to provide it with that information in writing to healthcomments@leg.state.vt.us no later than June 25, 2010 at 3:00p.m.

Through an as yet undisclosed process, finalists from the bidders will be chosen, and may be interviewed the morning of June 25. Since the commission is not meeting until June 28, I have questioned the Commission staff member Jim Hester how these finalists will be chosen. I have not yet received an answer on this questions. However, the latest email from Jim Hester is somewhat softer on this process, which may indicate that our questions have raised issues about how public bodies, like this Commission, act. As we all know, they are supposed to act and make decisions, like choosing finalists, in public, unless there is a legal exception.

COMMENTS AT THE COMMISSION MEETING:
Additionally, there will be a short time for public comments at the HCRC meeting on June 28th. Because the Commission must make its decision that day in order to meet the deadlines in Act 128 (S.88), the Commission staff is requesting that written comments be submitted prior to the weekend before the Commission meets so that the Commission members’ can consider the comments over the weekend.

Whether you comment or not, I urge you all to turn out for the Health Care Reform Commission Meeting at the statehouse on June 28, at 1 pm, in Room 10.
Please also plan to attend the Joint Fiscal Committee meeting the next day at 10 pm, also at the statehouse.