Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mental Health Requests for Proposals will be Reissued After Review

Two requests for proposal - one for privatizing and consolidating forensic mental health services and another for privatizing and constructing a new psychiatric hospital - are being reviewed by the Georgia Department of Human Resources and will soon be resubmitted to attract prospective bidders.

A request for proposal (RFP) is an invitation for bidders to submit business proposals for providing a service or commodity. DHR first submitted an RFP to privatize and consolidate its forensic services in October 2008 but later cancelled the process after the single viable candidate was excluded by a technicality. DHR also decided to cancel a second RFP for privatizing and constructing a new psychiatric hospital in Atlanta since that RFP contained the same technicality.

“We set the bar high,” said Gwen Skinner, director of the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases. “There were some experience requirements in these RFPs that may be too stringent even for a seasoned company. We have high standards for the operation of our mental health services and facilities, but we need to make sure what we require is a reasonable business model. Since both RFPs contain the same experience requirements, we felt it best to cancel both and review them now so the process can move forward as quickly as possible.”

The forensic services RFP is under review and will be publicly resubmitted as soon as possible. The RFP to privatize and construct a psychiatric hospital in Atlanta was pulled for re-evaluation before the bidding stage was reached. It also will be publicly resubmitted. Both RFPs seek private companies to operate, not own, state mental health services and facilities. The State of Georgia would retain ownership and oversight, and winning bidders must comply with all state and federal standards regulating mental health services.
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