To understand the roles of healthcare federal government contractors, first, understand the scope of the federal government’s healthcare programs. According to Statista, 39.5% of Americans received health insurance from government programs, a record number. In 2019, the Federal Government spent 1.2 trillion dollars on healthcare, and six major programs serve millions of Americans.
- Medicare serves adults over the age of 65. More than 62 million people were enrolled in Medicare in 2020,
- Medicaid provides health coverage to more than 89 million Americans, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and people with disabilities. This coverage includes the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
- The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) serves 9 million veterans and their families.
- TRICARE serves 9.6 million service members and their immediate families.
- The Indian Health Service (IHS) serves 2.56 million American Indians and Alaska Natives and provides funds for tribal and urban Indian health programs.
As the nation’s largest healthcare provider, the federal government significantly impacts service delivery nationwide. Policies, innovations, and standards for federal healthcare programs influence the private sector.
In addition to providing healthcare, the federal government also has other vital responsibilities in public health. These efforts include surveying and addressing Americans’ status and healthcare needs, funding research, and providing technical assistance to state and local systems.
The federal government also participates in international efforts toward global health. All federal programs cross state and regional boundaries, and high-quality services are expected to be delivered consistently across all regions. Yet each area faces different labor market strengths and weaknesses. Delivering scalable and consistently high-quality services requires private-sector partnerships that can meet the needs of patients nationwide.
Obligations of Federal Healthcare Contractors
Headlines often focus on the rare government contractor that breaks public trust. But the reality is that federal healthcare contractors are an essential part of our service delivery system. Without these partnerships, our government would be unable to address public health crises like the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, government healthcare providers mobilized services to meet the needs of Americans during a global pandemic, produced necessary medical supplies, and developed and provided staff to meet local demands.
Healthcare contractors also partner with the federal government to meet tomorrow’s needs. They are at the forefront of technology upgrades and are engaged in identifying better ways to meet the needs of our aging population. They are researching and developing new pharmaceuticals and treatments.
Improvements to the acquisition process and better oversight have strengthened the partnership between healthcare contractors and the federal government. Competitive selection supports cost savings, efficiencies, and innovation. Healthcare contractors bring specialized skills to help with short-term needs and critical healthcare challenges.
Innovations to the complex acquisition system focus on transparency, accountability, and efficiency. The government and federal contractors share a responsibility to stakeholders to deliver quality health outcomes at a fair cost. To do that, contractors must operate with integrity and understand that quality of service and value to the taxpayers are two essential mandates. Additionally, contractors must meet various regulatory requirements, from patient safety and labor laws to privacy regulations.
Healthcare contractors are responsible for controlling the quality of service, ensuring that staff and supplies meet -the requirements necessary to deliver high-quality services, providing accurate billing, maintaining records, and furnishing that information to the government upon request. They must also ensure that employees and subcontractors are treated fairly without harassment or discrimination. And they are held to stringent workplace safety expectations.
Federal government contractors must comply with federal, state, and local regulations through well-managed corporate oversight, be able to measure compliance, and have qualified staff assigned oversight responsibilities.
To be successful, government contractors should have a deep understanding of the project and the agency’s vision of success. They should commit to continuous improvement and high-performance standards.
Partnering with federal agencies positively impacts the lives of millions in the United States. Through these partnerships, the government gains outside perspective and best-in-class talent. Government contractors bring flexibility and agility to our healthcare system. The key to success is engagement with government contractors to open dialog about solving complex problems.
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