The overall score for this Request for Proposals is 60 percent, which makes this RFP a moderate to substantial risk for applicants.
This request for proposals (“RFP”) is for the Case Management RFP, which assists “older adults in their efforts to remain safe at home and meaningfully engage in their communities and to do so in a manner that takes into consideration that person’s uniqueness.” Clients are provided linkages to services needed to age safely at home such as nutrition, friendly visiting with volunteers, access to benefits, and household chores.
The goal of this program is to help older adults age in place by using case management as a first step to develop a robust client-care plan for coordinated services. Case management includes intake, care planning, implementation of the care plan, and follow up and monitoring.
New York City Aging is the contracting agency, and the anticipated contract start date is July 1, 2023.
Rigid Funding Requirements
NYC Aging established a maximum reimbursement of $75.31 per hour of service provided. Although the RFP states that the rate and staffing levels were established by an analysis based on FY22 expenditures and case management hours, it is unclear in the RFP how this rate was established in order to cover the full cost of services. In addition to the case management requirements, providers are a tasked with playing a critical role in emergency preparedness, response and recovery activities and maintaining relationships with the Home Delivered Meals program, home care providers, and other supplemental services. Subcontracting is encouraged in this RFP; however, “there will not be additional funds to cover administrative or other costs due to subcontracting.”
The RFP lists higher minimum staff salaries, and we appreciate that $5 million was incorporated for staffing increases, and HSC and the provider community are very pleased to see RFPs beginning to acknowledge that wages need to rise to meet demand and cost-of-living. But there are concerns about whether the rates are sufficient to cover those salaries as additional funding is not available throughout the length of the contract as the cost-of-living rises, especially in New York City. Government is the predominant funder of human services and is the main driver of human services salaries. Current New York City contracts have resulted in the essential human services workforce being some of the lowest paid workers in New York’s economy. It would also be difficult to pay the minimum salaries in the RFP without additional funding as it is unclear if fringe benefits are capped at 33%. The cost of health insurance and other mandatory fringe benefits are increasing, which is difficult to achieve with the funding provided. Since contractors are awarded a three-year contract with a three-year renewal option with no cost escalators or cost-of-living adjustment, providers could potentially receive the same funding for six years. Nonprofits struggle to meet rising costs as rates on contracts are not increased from year to year to address an increase in the costs of delivering services.
The RFP states that contractors should submit budgets assuming a 10% indirect cost rate and if awarded, they will be provided the difference between the 10% di minimus and the certified indirect cost rate as a separate allocation. Providers should be able to submit budgets with their certified indirect cost rate instead of assuming a 10% di minimus, which delays the reimbursement process further causing more inefficiency and administrative burdens. Providers have already budgeted for this money and cannot continue without certainty on their indirect rates, which puts their entire organization at risk.
Furthermore, NYC Aging should provide a sample budget, as providers have asked through the addendum, to ensure transparency on how rates were developed and assess what the actual costs are so that providers are paid for those costs, including indirect and competitive salaries. This would support nonprofit sustainability and the success and quality of programs. This is a larger systemic issue which affects a workforce that is overwhelmingly female and workers of color. We hope that the City commits to paying equitable wages to contracted human services workers by providing rates that cover the full cost of services, including staff salaries, cost escalators, and a cost-of-living adjustment.
Transparency in Awards
The RFP states that NYC Aging can “change or modify the geographic area of the catchment, payment structure, the program service size, program type, and model depending on the needs of the system, and to change units if City, State and/ or federal definitions of service are changed.” This is a risk for applicants because they need to ensure that they have enough financial and staff resources to sustain the program in case NYC Aging decreases funding at any time or increases the program size during the contract.
Inadequate Time to Respond
Although NYC Aging provided six weeks to respond to the RFP, considering that the RFP and an addendum was released during three federal holidays, hinders providers to submit their best proposal. A revised Case Management Standards of Operation and Scope of Services document was also issued after the RFP was released instead of before to clarify Friendly Visiting requirements, which makes it difficult for providers to plan their programs without this information shared ahead of time. This becomes a deterrent to competition, as new or small providers have limited time and resources to respond and need to have questions answered before proposing for the first time.
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 0 percent risk equal to a score of 60 and the maximum risk score or 100 percent 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.