In most cases, a competitive procurement process is a necessary tool for states when contracting for goods and services, and should lead to best value and transparent purchasing. However, there are times when a state’s need is so novel that there is only one vendor who can fulfill it, and a sole source contract is the only option. And there are other times when states may be in an exploratory phase – or need to act immediately to protect their populations or maintain the integrity of their programs – and so a formal procurement process is too cumbersome, expensive, and lengthy.
As a state entity, UMass Medical School is able to contract directly with fellow public agencies and universities across the country to provide services outside of a competitive bidding process, if allowable under state statute.
We have used interstate cooperative agreements with health and human services agencies or universities in:
- New Hampshire
- New York (and separately, New York City)
- Rhode Island
- New Mexico
Laws vary by state, and each state interprets its statutes in its own way. A state agency should work with their legal counsel to determine if the specific services to be contracted and the specific partners (health and human services agencies/universities) can be engaged in this type of public to public contractual partnership. Legal counsel might review:
- Any statute allowing for cooperative purchasing with other public entities
- Statutes relative to sole source procurement
- Any unique provisions for educational institutions, particularly higher education
Ultimately, we aim to help state agencies improve access to quality care in challenging fiscal environments as rapidly as possible.