Wednesday, July 6, 2011

VA Moving Ahead on IT

Fourteen major contracts to transform IT in the Department of Veterans Affairs have been awarded for an estimated program ceiling of $12 billion. The Transformation Twenty-One Technology (T4) program will eventually include 15 prime contracts with seven awards reserved for service-disabled veteran small businesses and veteran-owned small businesses.

The purpose of the T4 program is to be a single focal point for managing multiple contracts, give the VA access to the best industry capabilities without the traditional long acquisition lead time, and help the department meet its veteran small-business goals.

So far, the VA has awarded 14 prime contracts together in one package as a tool to close gaps in acquiring IT services to integrate systems, networks, and software. A fifteenth contract is pending resolution of a protest filed with GAO. Unsuccessful competitors will be notified once the 15th final award is made.

The companies will compete for work under T4 over five years. Their services and products may cover the life cycle of a computer system, and include program planning and management, systems and software engineering, cyber security, operation and maintenance, and support facilities.

In another announcement, the VA has implemented an open source community based on its EHR, selecting the Informatics Applications Group to create the Custodial Agent (CA) to serve as the community’s central governing body. The VA will contribute VistA to seed the open source effort.

The CA announced in April will serve as the central governing body for an open source community. The CA will provide communication, organizational, and administrative functions to enable community members to share information and software and to collaborate on improving the use of EHR systems. The VA expects the CA to launch in August and begin full operation in the fall.