MDH is continually identifying what testing services will best meet the needs of Minnesotans and provide options based on the current trajectory of the pandemic. MDH will be assessing how these additional testing vendors can ensure Minnesota’s COVID testing program remains robust. MDH will provide an opportunity for qualified vendors to respond to the request for testing services. It is unknown at this time which vendors MDH will work with until this process is complete.
MDH is in the process of identifying what testing services will be needed in the future. Testing continues to be an important COVID-19 mitigation strategy, and there continues to be high demand for testing services. At this time, MDH does not anticipate significant changes to Minnesota’s testing program in terms of the types of testing services available. Minnesotans will continue to have access to free, low-barrier testing provided by the state.
The Minnesota Department of Health’s COVID community testing program is focused on identifying COVID-positive individuals in the community to slow the spread of COVID-19. It will be up to individual employers to determine whether to offer workplace testing. However, local units of government that choose to offer workplace testing will be able to utilize the vendors selected under these state master contracts.
The Request for Proposal (RFP) provided an open and competitive process to award contracts to the top scoring vendors based on objective metrics. The determinations were made through the same, standard RFP process that is always followed in similar circumstances. For each testing activity, vendors had to meet several minimum requirements and they were evaluated against several preferred capabilities. In addition to these requirements and capabilities, they were evaluated for their qualifications and experience and how well they provide quality assurance, quality control and risk management practices. Some vendors did not score well if they couldn’t meet minimum capabilities (if they couldn’t meet minimum capabilities, they were excluded from that testing activity) or preferred capabilities. Some vendors did not provide sufficient information or did not answer a particular section of the section to be evaluated. After all scoring was completed, the top scoring vendors were selected. About a third of the responses were selected and about two-thirds were not selected.
The new vendor list is available to state agencies, public school districts and local government units. Schools and local governments may find more expansive options given the variety of vendors on the list. Existing contracts can continue until their expiration dates, so some programs may not see any changes.
CPV members and state agencies can reach out to email@example.com to get started. The first step is to fill out a form requesting services and the Office of State Procurement (OSP) will help you with the rest.
Governmental entities, entities that are eligible to receive federal surplus property, registered combined charitable organizations, charitable organizations, eligible community clinics, any entity recognized by another state's statutes as authorized to use that state's commodity or service contracts are eligible to participate in the Department of Administration’s Cooperative Purchasing Venture (CPV members). Most local government units are CPV members.
The vendors are under contract for a one-year term and there are optional extensions to go beyond that. There is currently no deadline. Existing contracts can continue until their expiration dates. The new master contracts can go up to 5 years in 1-year increments.
The Departments of Administration and Health have contracted with 11 COVID testing companies to expand testing options available to the state and local governments. Testing continues to be an important mitigation strategy to quickly identify people who have contracted COVID-19 so they can isolate and slow the spread of the virus. Minnesota remains committed to offering free, low-barrier testing options for Minnesotans. We anticipate ongoing needs for testing with the prevalence of the Delta variant, potential future waves and additional workplace and other regular testing.
In addition to Minnesota’s statewide, robust free testing network, there may be even further expansion in the availability and variety of testing options and overall testing capacity in the state. The master contract will enable applicable organizations to more easily secure testing services. As a result, local government and school districts will have even greater access to testing options and resources, giving Minnesotans even more choices to choose from.