VA awards four remote patient monitoring companies to share in $1B Home Telehealth contract (updated)

The Department of Veterans Affairs awarded on 1 May the latest contract for veteran Home Telehealth (HT) remote patient monitoring systems to four companies. They are perennial and incumbent vendor Medtronic Care Management Services, with HT newcomers Cognosante, Valor Healthcare, and DrKumo.

The duration of the Remote Patient Monitoring-HT contract is for a base period of two years and six (6) option periods. Each vendor can receive a minimum of $100,000 and maximum of $250,000,000 for a total value of all vendors in the contract of $1.032 billion, which is about the same as the previous award setup. It covers 72,000 patients with chronic care, acute care, health promotion/disease prevention, and non-institutional care (NIC) needs, and was awarded through the Office of Connected Care. This contract provisions for systems and hardware/software tools for the connected care of veterans at home. The solicitation originally came out in September 2021 and the award for multiple reasons was delayed for nearly two years.

Cognosante is perhaps the most interesting one here as an IT services company that offers telehealth and RPM as part of a main suite of diversified business process outsourcing. It already does business with the VA and the government, most recently with the VA in 2022 for support of a system used to manage referral and authorization processes for community care services (GovConWire). Former Senator Thomas Daschle is on their board of directors.

Valor Healthcare also is a current VA provider in operating more than 50 community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs). Valor as prime contractor partnered with GlobalMed on the contract, with GlobalMed as the technology provider for software integration and security services. GlobalMed already provides telemedicine carts to the VA and is a contractor for virtual health services for the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) Medical Community of Interest network.

DrKumo is the upstart, founded in 2021 by CEO Kelly Nguyen, Pharm.D and CTO Duc Pham. Their main feature is RPM for disease and chronic care management. 

All four companies prominently feature their connections with the VA and veterans, featuring the latter prominently in their management. Medtronic is the long-time (since the ’00s) incumbent and a leading vendor to the VA and the MHS in multiple areas.

The VA is a tough client, which other companies with HT contracts (and the personal experience of this Editor while marketing director of Viterion two contracts ago) can testify to. While VA may award contracts with four companies, many things can happen in the execution, such as failure to satisfy government US-origin requirements on the hardware origins, as specified in the Trade Agreements Act (TAA). Your hardware will need to be “substantially transformed” in the US or in a signatory country designated by the TAA. More than one vendor has effectively lost their contract over this; it happened to Vivify Health (now part of Optum) in 2018 and they with Iron Bow walked away [TTA 16 Jan 2018]. Another major hurdle is acceptance by VA care teams, and here all three companies are up against incumbent Medtronic.

Update 1 Nov: Another incumbent, AMC Health, which in 2022 partnered with GE HealthCare on post-hospital monitoring, switched partnerships and moved to partner with Cognosante. Partnerships are near-impossible to discern from the award notices. This is per their chief operating officer, James Considine, to the Editor. 

Becker’s, GovConWire, Valor release, GlobalMed release, award notice-Medtronic, award notice-Valor, award notice-DrKumo, award notice-Cognosante

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