JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Aug. 22, 2013) -- A triage-like approach to executing a contract for information technology support services at the San Antonio Military Medical Center is meeting the customer's critical needs while reducing costs by almost a third. Just as members of a hospital staff sort patients for urgent care, contracting experts from the Mission and Installation Contracting Command here classified the IT requirement as a small business set-aside and awarded the contract through a competitive process.Hunter Davenport, a MICC contract specialist, said the decision to set aside the contract for small business came from researching acquisitions similar to the size and scope. Public notices released on the Federal Business Opportunities website seeking sources yielded an overwhelming 69 responses."Thirty-two small business respondents were determined to be capable of performing the work as a prime contractor based on past performance and IT disciplines provided," Davenport said.He said the market research contributing most to the decision was information on existing information technology contract vehicles for small businesses that allow the flexibility to meet the dynamic needs of a Department of Defense medical environment."The staff did some excellent market research reviewing the different contractors and contract vehicles available," said Deanna Ochoa, the MICC-Fort Sam Houston small business specialist. "When the customer was worried about seeking only small businesses to do the work, they encouraged the customer to review the contractors' qualifications and brought them on board with the proposed strategy."The contract was awarded to Actionet Inc. of Vienna, Va., a small disadvantaged woman-owned business, which began performance in April. It was awarded for one year and includes two option years that if exercised would provide IT services through March 2016 at an overall cost of $15.9 million. The contract was competed using the General Service Administration's Small Business Alliant government-wide acquisition contracts, which is set aside for small business. GWACs are task order or delivery order contracts for information technology established by one agency for government-wide use.A large business held the previous contract for similar services since October 2004, with a cost to the government for $7.6 million last year alone. The small business contract award also significantly beat an independent government cost estimate of $27 million for three years."In our current fiscal environment it is important to meet SAMMC's expectations of awarding a contract that enables a seamless transition of services. The end user stressed a desire not to sacrifice service to promote savings," Davenport said. "The savings were a result of competitive pricing along with experienced contractors maximizing resources and skills to provide the government with the best value for our money."The contract set-aside for small business also allows the command to move closer to meeting its small business goals, established by higher headquarters. The fiscal 2013 MICC goal for total small business eligible dollars awarded is 45.8 percent. The command has achieved 42.8 percent of that goal heading into the final seven weeks of the fiscal year.Located on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, SAMMC is the largest inpatient medical facility in the Department of Defense. The hospital staff provides inpatient care in a 2.1 million-square-foot, 425-bed medical treatment facility. The state-of-the-art center is a certified Level 1 trauma center that receives more than 5,700 emergency room visits each month. It also holds accreditation from the American Burn Association and operates the only Department of Defense burn center -- the Army Burn Center.The IT support also is critical in the hospital's sustainment of 89 accredited educational programs to include graduate medical education, nursing, and emergency medical technician basic certification along with additional programs in administration and allied health specialties."This is a true small business success story, not only proving that a small business can provide the same quality services that a large business can, but also can do it at a substantial savings," Ochoa said.The MICC is responsible for providing contracting support for the warfighter at Army commands, installations and activities located throughout the continental United States and Puerto Rico. In fiscal 2012, the command executed more than 58,000 contract actions worth more than $6.3 billion across the Army, including more than $2.6 billion to small businesses. The command also managed more than 1.2 million Government Purchase Card Program transactions valued at an additional $1.3 billion.