The federal government has created a national reporting system housed within the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) to maintain transparency for COVID-19-specific spending.
The most recent report states that $17.3 billion in contracts have been awarded to companies worldwide since March 13. Of those contracts, Maryland-based companies received over $1.3 billion in COVID-19-specific awards.
Nationwide, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is responsible for 49 percent of the contracts awarded in more than 1,900 task orders, amounting to $8.5 billion, with 38 percent going to small businesses. The Department of Veterans Affairs follows in second place with over 4,300 task orders totaling $1.9 billion, of which 62 percent were awarded to small businesses.
Overall, small businesses have seen a lower-than-normal percentage in the COVID-19-related awards, with only 21.43 percent of the total awards, falling short of the 23 percent standard small business goal. Nationwide, small businesses were awarded $3.7 billion in over 19,800 transactions for a wide range of services and products.
While over 800 transactions have been recorded to Maryland-based companies, the largest reported contract awarded to a Maryland-based firm was for $628 million to Emergent Manufacturing Operations Baltimore LLC, DUNS 968316831, from the Department of Health and Human Services to create a vaccine for the coronavirus.
The second largest Maryland COVID-related contract award was to Immediate Response Technologies, LLC, (IRT) of Hyattsville, DUNS 079271348, receiving over $96 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide over-the-head hood-type air-purifying respirators for medical personnel. IRT however, is Canadian-owned, with the parent company, AirBoss of America Corp., based in Newmarket, Ontario.
Construction services are included in the report, with Maryland firms Clark Construction of Bethesda winning over $17 million in COVID-19-related construction upgrades from the Department of the Army and Four Tribes Construction Services, LLC, Gaithersburg, seeing $1.9 million from the National Institutes of Health.
While the categorization of the COVID-related spending is mandated by federal government rules and regulations available here: https://www.acquisition.gov/coronavirus, please note that all Department of Defense spending reports are delayed by 90 days to maintain security and it will take some time to accurately record and reflect all federal agency COVID-19-specific spending.
The government further indicates this disclaimer on the most recent FPDS report: “The following data was obtained from FPDS-NG. We believe it represents a portion of the work that has been awarded to date. Many contracting offices supporting COVID-19 particularly those relocated to the disaster recovery area, do not have access to their normal contract writing systems and thus have not been able to populate FPDS-NG contemporaneously with the contract awards they have made. Others have not had time to enter data due to the tempo of operations. It is impossible to estimate the impact this may have on the total numbers. As the operations tempo slows, we expect that the data will be entered and thus the accuracy in terms of total contracts awarded, and dollars obligated, will increase.”
Gloria Larkin is president and CEO of TargetGov, Email Gloria at glorialarkinTG@targetgov.com.