This information is provided by the Office of the Harris County Purchasing Agent to assist vendors and potential vendors interested in doing business with the Harris Health System (system) and Community Health Choice, Inc. (CHC).
On January 12, 1993, Harris County Commissioners Court ordered that the purchasing functions of the system be placed under the control of the Harris County Purchasing Agent ("Purchasing Agent"). Since then, the Purchasing Agent has assumed responsibility for the purchasing function and makes all purchases for the system and CHC.
Office of the Harris County Purchasing Agent Web site: http://www.hctx.net/purchasing/.
The Purchasing Agent supervises the procurement of products and services necessary to support Harris County, Harris Health System, CHC and other governmental entities. Most purchases are initiated by a request from an end user. The system and CHC have term contracts for goods and services, which are utilized on a regular basis. These contracts result from competitive bids and requests for proposals (RFPs) and generally are one year in length with one (1) or more renewal options.
Purchasing Office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The Office of the Purchasing Agent divides commodities based on two groups:
- Medical, Pharmaceutical and Technology - Responsible for procurement of medical equipment, supplies and services; pharmaceutical supplies and services; computer and telecommunication hardware, software systems and supplies; various personal and professional service contracts.
- Industrial/Construction - Responsible for procurement of rolling equipment and supplies, lumber, plumbing, hardware, tools, building services, engineering support, insurance, printing, furniture, service contracts and construction.
A list of Buyers and associated commodities is also provided on the Purchasing Web site under "Commodity Codes by Buyer."
Purchases of goods and services for $50,000 or less do not require publication in a newspater of general circulation. These purchases are at the discretion of the Buyer and the requirements of the end user. It is the responsibility of the Buyer to obtain adequate information and price quotes to evaluate the required products or services as the time frame and workload allow. The Buyer may request quotes verbally or in writing. Purchase results may be obtained from the Buyer.
Advertised Bids and Requests for Proposals (RFP)
(Texas Local Government Code §262.021 et seq.), as amended, provides that notice of a proposed purchase exceeding $50,000 must be published at least once a week in a newspaper of general circulation, with the first day of publication being at least 14 days before the date of bid opening. Generally, projects exceeding $50,000 are advertised in the Houston Chronicle, Friday edition, in the Classified Section, under Bids and Proposals.
The advertisement contains a short description of the products or services desired, the job number, the time and date the bids are due and location where the bid documents may be downloaded or picked up. Jobs advertised in the newspaper are also posted for public view at the Office of the Harris County Purchasing Agent.
Vendors may register on the Harris County Purchasing Department Web site to obtain automatic notification of jobs available for bidding by registering Advertised Bids and Request for Proposals (RFP). Click on "Open Bids," and you will be able to download the bid/RFP. Registering is not required to view the documents or to submit a bid; however, the site has the ability to notify suppliers by commodity when an advertised bid/RFP has been placed on the site. Once registered, a password will be assigned to the supplier and bid/RFP packages may be downloaded from the Purchasing Web site. Using this system enables a timely review and receipt of bid/proposal documents. Suppliers must keep their registration data current in order to receive timely updates concerning documents they have downloaded. Since more than 90 percent of purchasing jobs are downloaded using the Purchasing Web site, current supplier information is essential to receive timely addenda and other information concerning downloaded documents. A bid or RFP document may be obtained by one of the following methods:
- Register online at the Purchasing Web site by clicking on "Bid Listings." The site has the ability to notify vendors by commodity when an advertised bid/RFP has been placed on the site.
- Visit the Purchasing Office and pick-up the bid/RFP document.
Bid or RFP documents may be mailed to a vendor when the vendor's address is outside the greater Houston area. The Purchasing Office assumes no responsibility as to timely delivery of mailed bid or RFP documents or for any bid/RFP addenda.
Bid or RFP supporting documents for construction projects may require pick-up from an alternate location, such as the Harris Health Planning Department. When that is required, the specifications will include all pertinent information.
Various business associations or agencies, such as the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, have links to the Purchasing Web site so their membership can be aware of the business opportunities. Proper communication with any agency distributing Harris Health System bid/RFP information is important to assure timely communication of any addenda to the job specifications. Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs) are encouraged to participate in the bid/proposal processes. Although Harris County does not certify HUB vendors, Harris County recognizes the certifications of other governmental entities.
Vendors are encouraged to read bid or RFP information thoroughly before contacting a Buyer with questions. E-mail is the preferred method of communication with the Purchasing Office regarding bid/RFP documentation. Contact information also may be obtained through the Purchasing Web site.
Care should be taken when completing the bid/RFP response. Failure to comply with requirements may result in disqualification. Prior to submitting a response, vendors must verify that the bid/RFP Cover Sheet is signed and all documentation had been completed. If a vendor responds to more than one job, the vendor's response must be placed in the envelope marked with the corresponding job number.
Generally, bids and proposals are due by 2 p.m. local time in Houston, Texas, on Monday. Bids are opened shortly thereafter in the conference room behind the Harris County Commissioners Court on the ninth floor of the Harris County Administration Building, 1001 Preston, Houston, TX 77002. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL LATE BIDS/PROPOSALS BE ACCEPTED.
Bids may be awarded, rejected, carried over or referred. Copies of the bid tabulations are available in Commissioners Court or in the Office of the Purchasing Agent. Bids also are available for viewing in the Office of the County Clerk and bid tabulations may be viewed on the Purchasing Web site.
Responses to an RFP are confidential and are opened in the Purchasing Office without public participation. An RFP allows negotiation with those vendors who submit proposals that have a reasonable possibility of obtaining the award. The final negotiated contract may become public upon award and execution of an agreement as described by state law.
It is the policy of the Purchasing Agent to consider total cost when making an evaluation to determine the lowest and best bid/proposal. Total cost evaluations may include items such as quality, durability and user recommendations/experience with the product or service, past performance and other items as applicable.
Award recommendations are available through the hospital district or CHC Agenda published on the Friday preceding the Thursday Board of Managers' meeting. Both the Board of Managers and Board of Directors Agendas are posted at the Harris Health System Administration Building, 2525 Holly Hall, Houston, TX 77054, and at the County Criminal Court Building, 1201 Franklin, Houston, TX 77002. The Board of Managers Agenda also is available on the Harris Health System Web site.
Harris County Purchasing is responsible for notifying vendors of renewals. Vendors with existing contracts/agreements will be notified by Harris County Purchasing of contract/agreement expirations generally 125 days prior to expiration.
Invoicing and Payment Guidelines
Harris Health System agrees to pay vendor for merchandise delivered and services provided, and agrees to pay vendor in full for all undisputed amounts within 30 days from date of invoice. Vendor agrees to submit all invoices to Harris Health System, Attn: Accounts Payable, P.O. Box 66769, Houston, TX 77266-6769. Vendor agrees that all invoices must reference a valid Harris Health System purchase order number. Discrepant invoices will be paid when discrepancy is resolved via ordering department and vendor.
Vendor sales representative shall not call on any Harris Health System department or staff other than those pre-arranged by appointment. At the time of product evaluation, the vendor sales representative or vendor shall disclose relationships with Harris Health, its affiliates and its staff in writing. The failure to disclose relationships may result in disqualification and criminal prosecution pursuant to the provisions of the Texas Local Government Code.
Vendor sales representatives entering and/or contacting the Harris Health System for the purpose of conducting business with Harris Health System staff, affiliates and patients shall comply with the organization's expectations of maintaining patient confidentiality; a safe environment for the delivery of healthcare; regulatory standards and institutional requirements; and uninterrupted patient care and facility operations.
Vendor sales representatives, vendors or anyone on the vendor's behalf are prohibited from offering, giving, soliciting or accepting any money, services or other items of value with the expectation of influencing the judgment or decision-making process of the vendor or any person associated with Harris Health System or its affiliates. Vendor sales representatives, vendors or anyone on the vendor's behalf may, however, give or accept non-monetary gifts of a nominal value ($25.00 or less) if the gift is not given for the purpose of influencing the individual's judgment or perfornance of duties. Vendor sales representatives, vendors or anyone on the vendor's behalf may not give more than one gift to any one individual or company per calendar year.