Dahle, Senate Republicans tell governor public deserves transparency in contract with vaccine distributor

California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly and Government Operations Secretary Yolanda Richardson said Tuesday that the state was evaluating many parties to be the Third Party Administrator to oversee the allocation of vaccines. However, no information regarding a contract or a request for proposal has been made available to the legislature. Concerned with previous murky contract processes like those with BYD and Blue Flame, Senate Republicans asked the governor to release more information to the public in the letter below.

“To date, the distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines has been slow and inefficient. We can all agree that the state of California needs to do a better job at vaccinating vulnerable Californians, essential workers and teachers.

“Your administration announced today that a Third Party Administrator will be hired to oversee the allocation of vaccines to local public health systems, pharmacies, health systems, public hospitals, community health centers and pop-up and mobile sites. While we welcome any effort to expedite the administration of vaccines, the public and the legislature have been left in the dark on the hiring process of this TPA. Unfortunately, the state has had a murky track record in awarding contracts during this emergency (the Blue Flame contract for PPE is just one example).

“The public and their representatives deserve more transparency from your office than we have received over the past 10 months. We request to know: has your administration drafted any Request for Proposals or entered into a contract for the TPA services? If so, what are the terms of that RFP or contract? Californians not only deserve to know what entity will be conducting this potentially lifesaving operation, but they deserve to know why this entity was selected for this crucial job.

“During Tuesday’s briefing, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly and Government Operations Secretary Yolanda Richardson said that the state was evaluating many parties to be the TPA but could not announce who those parties were. In that briefing, they did not reveal if a contract between the state and the TPA had already been signed or if a RFP had be released already. Nor did they suggest when a bidding process (if there was to be one) would begin or end, although Secretary Richardson did suggest that this network would be active in February 2021.

“California is last nationally in administering COVID-19 vaccines. Californians deserve to receive all available vaccines at the same speed as every other state – if not faster. We want to get back to work and want our children to return to school.

“Thank you for addressing this urgent matter.”

State senators Brian Dahle, Jim Nielsen, Shannon Grove, Scott Wilk, Melissa Melendez. Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh and Pat Bates signed the letter.