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The Government shutdown and your federal healthcare contracts


We are in the 21st day of a partial Government shutdown resulting from a disagreement between Congress and President Trump over funding for additional border security. If this goes through the weekend without an agreement, we will be in the longest shutdown in recorded history. The news of the shutdown is dominating 24-hr news cycles and there is a lot of conflicting information out there. You may be wondering if this affects your federal healthcare contracts, specifically your VA Federal Supply Schedule contracts and associated vehicles. Orlaithe has gone through the chaff so you don’t have to – here’s what you need to know…

Partial Shutdown

This is only a partial shutdown, meaning that it only affects those agencies for which Congress did not pass FY2019 appropriations bills. This includes the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, State, Transportation, and Treasury. Despite this being a partial shutdown, it still affects nearly 800,000 federal workers and a wide variety of public services.


VA Appropriations

President Trump signed the VA’s FY2019 appropriations bill into effect on September 21, 2018. In fact, the VA received the largest budget in agency history this year, with a grand total of $208.8 billion. According to its contingency plan, most of the VA’s duties are authorized to continue as excepted activities. Excepted activities are those authorized by law, and those involving the safety of human life or the protection of property. This means, that even if the VA had not received its FY2019 appropriations, it would continue to provide medical care; compensation and pension benefits; housing; and burial services.

 VA Supply Fund

The VA’s National Acquisition Center (NAC) is funded through the Supply Fund – a self-supporting revolving fund managed by the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. The Supply Fund recovers operating expenses through fees and markups like the Industrial Funding Fee collected for all purchases made under the VA FSS program. Why is this important? It means that even if the VA had not received its FY2019 appropriations the FSS and other offices within the NAC would continue to operate as normal. This also applies to operations at the Strategic Acquisition Center (SAC) and the Denver Acquisition and Logistics Center (DALC).

Impact of a Partial Shutdown

As the VA FSS Service continues to operate as normal, it means that you can continue to submit new proposals, request for modification packages, contract extension packages, etc. You will also be able to reach out to your Contracting Officer and FSS management. As the VA received its appropriations, you will be able to continue to sell your products and services to hospitals and other VA contracting activities for the duration of the shutdown.

 Other Agencies

This list includes that status of some of the agencies with which you you may have healthcare related contracts:

  • Department of Defense (DoD): DoD received its FY2019 funding and continues purchasing/contracting operations as normal.

  • Coast Guard: Funded through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Coast Guard did not receive funding and is only providing those services it deems essential to the safety of human life or the protection of property.

  • Bureau of Prisons (BoP): Like the Coast Guard, the BoP is funded through DHS and is only providing essential services.

  • Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (including Indian Health Services (IHS): HHS received its FY2019 funding and continues purchasing/contracting operations as normal.

 Orlaithe Consulting is here to help you navigate the shutdown – we can help you submit contract proposals, modification requests, GSA Advantage SIP files, annual certifications, and more. Call us today to schedule your free consulting session!