Hospitals and health systems come in all sizes, and it may surprise some people that the Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated healthcare system. It provides care at 1,255 health care facilities, including 170 medical centers and 1,074 outpatient sites of care of varying complexity (VHA outpatient clinics), serving nine million enrolled Veterans each year.
And while the VA often gets a bad rap, the truth is that the VA’s performance is quite impressive. In fact, a Rand review of available studies found that “quality of care delivered by VA is generally equal to or better than care delivered in the private sector." 1 In many areas, from electronic medical records to patient safety measures, the VA has been a pioneer, offering best-in-class services.
Yet, like most government agencies, it can be challenging to navigate the procurement processes and deliver these products and services to the veterans who can truly benefit from these latest technologies. In some cases, working with a company that specializes in federal government sales, contracting, and distribution can save time, money, and a lot of aggravation.
I have spent the past seven years helping medical equipment companies and federal government customers come together to offer innovative medical technologies to veterans and have learned a lot along the way (sometimes the hard way).
Here are three pieces of advice I have for medical device companies looking to do more government contracting:
- Provide safe, state-of-the-art medical products and equipment that the government needs to deliver the highest levels of healthcare to our veterans and active duty warfighters, ensuring that all prices are reasonable and fair to U.S. taxpayers.
- Don’t be intimidated by the government (VA/DoD) healthcare market. Many medical device companies overlook the lucrative and important federal market due to a perceived complicated sales process. If internal resources are scarce, consider working with a company or distributor that specializes in the federal market.
- Fully utilize government contracts that allow government procurement officials to easily purchase these medical products and equipment.
As the federal government changes leadership this year, we predict minor changes to the VA procurement process and associated Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) under the new administration. With the Biden administration comes new opportunities for medical device companies that are educated within the federal market and proactively target VA and DoD healthcare facilities.
Nine million Veterans and one million active military personnel, along with their families, can likely benefit from your products. That is why now is a great time to rethink and refocus your company’s strategy around government contracting.
1. Rand Corp., "Quality of Care in VA Health System Compares Well to Other Health Settings," July 2016, https://www.rand.org/news/press/2016/07/18.html.