In several of the hospital-based specialty practice areas, there are so-called national groups that are quite active in their marketing to hospitals at large. They run large ads, conduct well-planned webinar campaigns, and even telemarket to hospital administrators.
In particular, some national groups take a very sophisticated approach based around a campaign designed to convince hospitals to issue RFPs for their type services, while at the same time quite cleverly attempting to define what a winning proposal – theirs, of course – should look like.
This raises a very interesting issue: Should an entity that lobbies a hospital to issue an RFP be excluded as a matter of course from participating in the RFP process?
Is permitting an entity which lobbied the hospital to make the RFP decision to then compete for the contract an unfair business practice – or even fraud – as to the other competitors for the contract? It certainly seems to increase the odds that a disgruntled group will sue.
One thing is for certain: As RFPs become an even more commonplace occurrence in the healthcare market, their defects, both as to their structure and as to the RFP process itself, are certain to become an increasingly common subject of litigation.
Perhaps RFP will soon begin to stand for really foolish proposition.