Some SDAN Concerns for the RFP
1. The RFP radically expands the role of the FMS and significantly changes the nature of DDA’s self-direction option. This is being accomplished with no attempt to solicit or accept stakeholder input.
2. Awarding the contract to only one FMS allows no choice for participants. This is especially important since the FMS will be providing “counseling” services. Competition between providers is always a good thing. It leads to attempts to achieve customer satisfaction– that is improvement. Participants are now allowed to choose between various resource coordination agencies which also complete administrative activities. Choice is the key to self-direction.
3. The RFP combines duties for administering OHS programs (including Community First Choice) and DDA’s self-direction option and does not distinguish which duties and requirements apply to which program. This makes the entire RFP difficult to understand both for bidders and for stakeholders. These programs are significantly different and may be best serviced by two separate contracts/vendors.
4. The RFP places the responsibility for determining the “competency” of both participants and employees on the new FMS. From our point of view, this is vague and ominous– and not an appropriate activity for an administrative entity.
5. Several conditions in the RFP seem to unnecessarily exclude both current FMS agencies (The ARC of the Central Chesapeake Region and Medsource) from making a successful bid. This is troubling. Both agencies have provided services to Marylanders for many years. They also employ other Marylanders who also happen to be Maryland taxpayers. Over the years they have demonstrated a deep commitment to serving our State’s citizens with developmental disabilities. We do not suggest a “lock” for them because of past service. But we do oppose locking them out. We also note that these two agencies are part of an infrastructure that has supported one of the most successful self-direction programs in the country. Once they are dismantled– on the mere promise of something better– there is no going back.
6. The RFP was posted on or about June 6 and bids are now due on July 25. Not adequate time for most providers to prepare bids for such a large contract. The entire RFP process appears rushed– and DDA has offered no valid reason. The RFP is a multi-million dollar contract. It is more important to get things right than to get them done quickly.