The Human Services Council and its members would like to thank DFTA for responding to and addressing some of the concerns from applicants through an Addendum to this Request for Proposals. HSC has worked in partnership with LiveOn and a number of Caregiver Services Program providers to tackle the issues in this RFP. Originally, the overall score for this RFP was 68 percent, but the rating is lowered to 60% due to DFTA incorporating the suggestions from providers on improving this RFP. Five main issues were tackled in this Addendum:
- The proposal deadline was extended from January 16 to February 8.
- A citywide specialty area was added to the competition pool making it a total of three citywide specialty areas.
- The available funding was increased from $22,545,000 to $24,012,000 for the 3-year term, which includes an increase from $7,515,000 annually to $8,004,000 annually for the 3-year term. Applicants can also propose indirect rates higher or lower than 10% if the requirements of the program are met. However, there will be no cost of living adjustment (COLA) in the subsequent years of the contract unless the City awards COLAs to all human services contractors.
- The service definition and levels were revised to reduce units in the information/assistance, caregiver services and public information and outreach categories. This was due to providers’ concerns in their ability to meet these targets with the resources provided. However, DFTA has increased the number of respite and supplemental services units, which does create a significant concern for applicants to meet these target numbers based on current service levels
- Although the limit on the duration of support groups was extended to 16 weeks, there are still concerns that clients need ongoing, longer term support.
We appreciate DFTA for listening to the concerns of providers for this RFP and recognize that making these changes to the RFP was a significant undertaking that recognized the concerns of the provider community. This RFP still has a moderately high risk and we look forward to continuing to work with DFTA and our partners to ensure that nonprofits can deliver quality services for the benefit of all New Yorkers.
The overall score for this Request for Proposals is 68 percent, which makes this RFP a moderate to substantial risk for applicants.
This request for proposals (“RFP”) is for the operation of the Caregiver Services Program. The Caregiver Services Program is designed to support both the giver of care and the receiver of care with a variety of services. This includes access to support groups, respite care, supportive counseling and training for caregivers. This RFP serves four groups: adults (age 18 and over) caring for an older adult (age 60 and over); adults (age 18 and over) caring for an adult with dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, or related disorders (any age), older adults (age 60 and over) caring for an adult with a disability (age 18-59), and older adults (age 55 and over) caring for a child(ren) (age 18 and under). The goal of the Caregiver Services Program is to “relieve the stresses of caregiving by providing an array of emotional, physical and financial supports to the caregiver, and in some instances, services that directly benefit the care receiver.”
The New York City Department for the Aging (“DFTA”) is the contracting agency, and the anticipated contract start date is July 1, 2019.
Key Areas of Risk
On its face, this RFP reflects an increase in funding relative to previous RFPs. Unfortunately, the increases in program requirements and service units are not commensurate with the funding provided and applicants may not be able to meet the program deliverables without subsidizing the contract substantially with other revenue.
In the RFP, DFTA “encourages contractors to offer competitive salaries for the positions contained in the budget to encourage staff retention.” However, this is infeasible without any cost escalators over the term of the contract and without accounting for the upcoming Administrative Employee Overtime Exemption minimum salary increasing to $58,500.
Closely related to the overall underfunding of this program is DFTA’s continued restriction of indirect costs. The RFP allows a maximum indirect cost reimbursement rate of ten percent and does not allow for negotiation of an indirect cost reimbursement rate, but it places large reporting, compliance, and administrative burdens on the service provider. If the funding was aligned with actual costs, it would contribute to the sustainability of the organizations applying.
Although DFTA provides the Senior Tracking, Analysis, and Reporting System (STARS) to track case notes, plans, assessments, and other client data, DFTA requires applicants to have an accounting system to track and manage respite care and supplemental services. The funding for this program is not enough to cover the costs for nonprofits to attain and maintain additional systems. DFTA also asks applicants to “provide details about the financial, IT, administrative, HR, and other organizational elements already in place and those that would be enhanced or created to support the proposed program.” Nonprofits will have to find resources elsewhere to support this requirement since there is not enough funding available.
There is a change in the geographic areas that providers will serve from previous RFPs. This is an issue because it causes a disruption in services for current clients. Although providers can refer clients to the organization that is serving their area, it disrupts the progress that organizations have made with their current clients.
In the concept paper, DFTA originally planned for eight contracts to serve specific catchment areas and three contracts to serve special populations citywide, which is how the program is implemented currently. However, the RFP states that nine contracts will serve specific catchment areas and two contracts will serve special populations citywide. There was no mention in the RFP or discussions with providers as to why this change was made. Since citywide services are reduced to two contracts, clients who are currently assisted under the third citywide contract may shift where they receive services, and taking on new clients may pose a risk to providers if it is a new population.
Providers facilitate support groups for caregivers, but the RFP limits the support group to eight to twelve weeks. Current providers’ experiences show that many caregivers need ongoing support, which will not be provided in this program model. For instance, caregivers of adults with Alzheimer’s disease may need support after diagnosis, as the disease progresses and if the care receiver passes, which require longer term assistance. Providers will have to subsidize longer term support to avoid reputational risk and adequately meet the needs of their clients.
The HSC RFP Rater assesses the feasibility, opportunities, and risk in City and State human services procurements. Rater scores are based on the RFP and related documents available to the public via New York City’s HHS Accelerator or New York State’s Grants Gateway. The rater consists of 60 questions developed and tested by a team of procurement professionals. The questions are based on information that is necessary to help prospective proposers assess risk.
Each answer is weighted based on the degree of risk inherent in the subject of the question. Answers that imply low to moderate risk are allotted points on a lower scale range compared to higher risk questions. For compound questions, the answer to both parts must be “yes” or “not applicable” to be considered low risk. Scores are calculated by adding all the question scores together. The higher the score, the greater the risk. The scoring range is from 60 to 230, with zero percent risk equal to a score of 60 and the maximum risk score or 100% equal to 230 points. Users can view the answer to each question by clicking the down arrow next to each section to expand the section.
The HSC RFP Rater is not a substitute for the due diligence necessary to inform individual organization decisions.