There are an estimated 15 million disabled workers employed at a rate of 31.2 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Recent gains in disability employment signify a shifting economy that’s more accepting of a different type of employee. As businesses allow more options for employees to work from home and to leverage technology to assist in their work, disabled workers are enjoying a bit of employment resurgence.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a time to educate others about disability employment and celebrate the many contributions of workers with disabilities in the U.S. Concordance Healthcare Solutions is a strategic partner with the AbilityOne program, the largest employer of people who are visually impaired or have other severe disabilities.
The Rule of Two
In order to understand AbilityOne and its role in the production of healthcare products and supplies, we must first discuss the Rule of Two. The federal government incorporated the AbilityOne mandate back in 1938. The program, formerly referred to as the Javit’s-Wagner-O’Day (JWOD) Act, was designed to save the federal government millions of dollars in taxes and disability checks.
In 2018, the Rule of Two was constructed with priority over the AbilityOne list. This rule stated that if two or more veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) can do a job for a fair and reasonable price, then the VA must give preference to VOSBs. While the Rule of Two applies to the VA only, it conflicted with The JWOD Act of 1938, which requires all government agencies, including the VA, to procure products and services from the AbilityOne List.
In May of this year, the VA issued a class deviation stating that contracting officers must apply the Rule of Two before awarding contracts to AbilityOne non-profits. Essentially, the deviation ensures that the VA turns to “Veterans First” by employing the Rule of Two before looking to other procurement opportunities.
The AbilityOne program consists of hundreds of not-for-profit agencies that provide employment opportunities to people who are blind or severely disabled. The federal government recognized that by having agencies who provide employment for disabled Americans, means that more people are paying income tax and opting not to collect disability checks. The federal government said that if you provide gainful employment opportunities for these people, then the federal government will mandate that all federal agencies purchase commodities that are manufactured/produced under the AbilityOne program.
The way the government purchases products is constantly evolving. With approximately 500 not-for-profit agencies, the AbilityOne program provides a wide range of products and services to the federal government. The statutory requirement to buy AbilityOne products is universal and applies to any dollar amount. Government purchase card holders are, like all federal employees, required to buy AbilityOne products provided by designated nonprofit agencies through distribution channels. The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) is a set of principles that govern the government procurement process and regulates the purchasing of goods and services by government agencies who are required to comply with FAR.
Concordance and AbilityOne
Concordance is an authorized AbilityOne distributor, offering commodities produced under the AbilityOne program to all federal government customers. We strive to help federal customers meet their AbilityOne/FAR requirements while also gaining a better understanding of the mission and people empowered by this program. We work directly with agencies’ materials management and leadership teams to understand the complexities of their unique supply chain process. Together, we collaborate to develop and implement innovative, dynamic, cost-saving programs and solutions that will truly benefit each unique government organization. Our team of experienced professionals delivers ongoing, measurable improvements that will bring harmony to every level of the supply chain.
Working together, Concordance and AbilityOne strategically align customer needs with the products and solutions that will meet customer requirements and support the overall mission of the AbilityOne program. In addition, Concordance is collaborating with several AbilityOne not-for-profit agencies to help expand these services to non-federal customers.
We provide a full range of med/surg products, equipment and supplies to all sectors of federally funded medical institutions from city, police and fire departments, to county health departments, as well as state correctional facilities, all branches of the federal government and veterans affairs. Concordance has a Med/Surg Next Generation Prime Vendor contract, Distribution & Price Agreement (DAPA), as well as a Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contract through which we provide our government customers with a knowledgeable staff, exceptional pricing and unparalleled value. Concordance also partners with veteran and minority-classified companies to help government entities attain established set-aside programs and goals.
Ultimately, Concordance works to simplify your supply chain while delivering the medical supplies that fit your respective formularies. We do this by providing unparalleled support for the contracts, logistics and processes behind the quality brand products we deliver so that you can focus on providing quality care for our nation’s Veterans.