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SSA awards $2.8 billion services support contract

The Social Security Administration has awarded a contract for information technology support potentially worth $2.8 billion to Accenture, Computer Sciences Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp., federal contracting officers announced Monday afternoon.

The agency designed the deal to be split among several vendors, with the expectation that competition would drive down prices for individual task orders, outside budget analysts recently said. Each company will get, at minimum, $2.5 million during the seven-year contract period, if all options are exercised, according to a notice posted on the government procurement website FedBizOpps.gov.

SSA's existing IT support contract, currently held by Lockheed, hit its ceiling of $525 million, and the agency says it needs more expertise in health information technology because disability determinations and other entitlement programs will be based on data from electronic health records.

The scope of responsibilities is wider than the previous contract, which was mostly for software development and maintenance and now includes requirements such as creating business models for exchanging electronic medical records, expanding Internet services for Medicare and Supplemental Security Income applicants, and enabling the agency to request and receive medical data automatically through health information exchanges.

Other technical areas include application and business planning; systems administration for the operating systems z/OS, Unix, Windows and IBM WebSphere; and leading-edge applications, such as data mining, cloud computing and voice recognition.

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