How does GSA Function During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

The global COVID-19 pandemic has redefined the way people live, work, attend classes, and communicate. In a very short period of time such previously adopted measures as social distancing and mask regimes have become customary and, in a sense, have reshaped the very essence of our everyday lives. It is hard to tell whether the ongoing Coronavirus crisis will end soon, but it is certain that the government now needs the best solutions more than ever to effectively set off against the pandemic and retain our social, economical, industrial, and commercial capabilities. The GSA typically relies on GSA Schedule contractors in times of crises, delivering ways to boost efficiency of procurement processes, when such force majeure circumstances as COVID-19 occur.

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In times of the pandemic, many federal agencies need essential equipment such as test-kits, protective clothing, face masks, ventilators and other medical equipment. Less specific products and services are also highly demanded, especially if they somehow facilitate more efficient operation or communication of medical personnel and authorities. For example, video conferencing equipment allows businesses and federal agencies to remain functional by switching to remote work. And today, it is crucial for GSA procurement officers to remain as functional as possible, given the situation. The GSA relies on GSA contractors too, asking them to remain ministering and straightforward, to help the government win the war against COVID-19 menace.

It is not only about being in touch and providing delivery of products and services in time. GSA Schedules are a priority procurement vehicle for many federal agencies. When a Procurement Officer looks for Best-in-Class solutions, he or she uses certain rules and regulations outlined in the FAR, to assess the quality of offers on the federal marketplace and pick the best one. The best offer does not have to be the one with the lowest price even though the price does matter. The best also means “being up to date and compliant”. That is why you, as a GSA Schedule Contractor, should do your best to maintain your GSA eBuy and GSA Advantage catalogs, keep  price lists current, and promptly resolve any possible compliance issues. This is of the highest priorities these days.

So, is there anything else the government and the GSA does to handle the present Coronavirus situation? Yes. The GSA has developed Disaster Relief and Emergency Response programs, to facilitate faster or even more immediate purchases for federal buyers who utilize the GSA Schedules. Below, we review this in more detail.

Disaster Relief and Emergency Response

The GSA Advantage marketplace has a special section for Disaster Relief Products. Within this section, there is a list of products and services in a range of categories that are relevant to emergency response to COVID-19. Categories encompass a number of industries:

  • Cleanup and Rebuilding
  • Emergency and Rescue
  • Medical Supplies
  • Personal Safety and Protection
  • Temporary Housing and Shelter
  • Electronic/Power Equipment
  • Food and Cooking Supplies
  • Personal Care and Hygiene
  • Security and Control
  • Vehicles and Heavy Equipment

Disaster Relief products and services are available for immediate purchase by federal agencies, as well as State and Local government agencies, as long as they use the Disaster Purchasing Program.

More on State and Local Purchasing Eligibility

Normally, state and local hospitals are not on the list of agencies and organizations authorized to use the GSA as a source of supply. However, to speed up the procurement of supplies and services such hospitals require, the GSA has granted them access to the same procurement programs, as the federal agencies have. This allows you as a GSA contractor to deliver goods and services directly to health networks and hospitals.

Moreover, COVID-19 emergency declaration allows local government entities to make self-determinations of eligibility. To do this, a written confirmation must be sent to an specific email (gsaeligibilitydetermination@gsa.gov).

Medical Equipment and Supplies

Medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and supplies are reserved for the Veteran Affairs Schedules. Specifically, 9 Federal Supply Schedules are managed by VA, not GSA. In spite of this, GSA Schedule Contractors under these FSS Schedules will also appear on GSA Advantage online catalog as a part of the Disaster Protocol. This allows VA contractors to supply test-kits, professional health services, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and other healthcare products to hospitals as easily as within the GSA MAS Schedules. Price Reporter has vast experience in assisting vendors with any VA Schedules just like we do with the GSA MAS Schedules. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions to ask.

Overall, during the pandemic the GSA contracting system works as closely to normal as possible under the circumstances. Moreover, for new contractors, today’s period of increased demand and expedited application, is a great opportunity to penetrate the federal marketplace and stay there even after the COVID-19 outbreak ends. Price Reporter provides up to date information regarding GSA Schedules with respect to Coronavirus updates to allow you keep abreast of the latest government contracting news.

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