How to write an effective RFP and attract the right CJR business partners

Posted by Signature Care Management Team on Friday, May 13, 2016 in Blog

What do companies do when they need a service, procurement of a commodity or asset they do not have internally? They release a request for proposal (RFP) or request for information (RFI). If you are an administrator at a hospital participating in the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) model and thinking about ways to succeed, you may have conducted an organizational assessment and identified aspects of the model you will need to learn, develop, or outsource.

Hospitals need to contract with the right partners to implement a successful CJR model. Thus, RFPs can be an effective and efficient method to survey a vast array of potential partners and quickly identify organizations that fit your needs. There are several best practices CJR hospitals should use when releasing a RFP in order to find the best collaborators and end CJR model year one in the black.

But First, Clarifications

As hospitals create their RFP, there are a few important components to clarify to potential partners. Due to the existence of the Freedom of Information Act, I recommend all hospitals that are also public entities work closely with a legal team in order to:

  • Ensure the information requested is appropriate to avoid ramifications for unlawful requests
  • Notify potential partners of the level of confidentiality they can expect when responding to the RFP
  • If a price is stated, it is wise to write if the price is binding or non-binding

Ask the Right Questions

No one has time to read through 1,345 RFP responses. To avoid both receiving and reading through pages and pages of meaningless responses and information, it is essential to ask the right questions. What do I mean by this? RFP questions should be specific and detailed in order to receive meaningful answers to effectively vet potential partners. Some hospitals may already know how to prepare for CJR and what services they need to outsource. Other hospitals may seek the assistance of a consultant to help identify what capabilities and services they possess internally versus services they need to outsource. Once these services are determined, hospitals will have a solid sense of what key questions to include in the RFP to bring the right partners to their team.

  • Pro tip: If soliciting organizations that analyze Medicare claims data, include a question about the turnaround time a hospital can expect to receive meaningful reports. If the response is anything beyond two weeks, it's time to move on to the next respondent.

Who do I send this to?

Once the RFP is written, it needs to be distributed in a strategic way in order to elicit responses from organizations with a solid reputation in the particular business market and offer the services needed. For instance, CJR hospitals could distribute the RFP to (1) their state hospital association, (2) organizations with experience in bundled payments, such as Model 2 Bundled Payment for Care Improvement (BPCI) initiative conveners, (3) trusted hospital consultant vendors, or (4) organizations that have hospital related products known to aid in implementing successful bundled payment programs, such as Verras and Syncera. Also, in terms of response time, organizations should need no more than three weeks to respond to the RFP.

Vet The Top Choices

It is no surprise organizations often inflate their abilities to perform tasks and projects. Thus, it is a worthwhile process to review the qualifications of the top choices for a potential partner. Things to consider:

  • What is the philosophy of the company?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Have they grown over time?
  • What are their staff credentials?
  • Who are their clients?
  • What are their successes and failures?
  • Is it possible to speak to a current or past client?
  • How big is the organization? (If they add more clients, will the same level of service be received?)
  • Where are they located?
  • How well do they respond to questions?
  • When implementing a new system or process, what is the timeline and benchmarks for success?
  • What services do they provide?
  • Is onsite education and training available?
  • Do they have experience in change management?
  • Public or private ownership?

Get Started Now

CJR has already started. If hospitals need outside help, use these key components to write an effective RFP and solicit the right companies to ensure success.   For more information or assistance in working with bundled payments and value-based care, visit


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