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VA Federal Supply Schedule Service

Customers - Open Market Waiver Request Process

  1. Is there a list of NAC blanket approvals, waivers, or exemptions?

  2. Are there any products under FSC 65/66 that are exempt from the requirement to submit an open market waiver request to the NAC?

  3. When am I required to submit an open market waiver request to the NAC?

  4. Am I required to submit a waiver for consumables, spare parts, peripheral items, etc. that are not available on Schedule?

  5. How can I find the terms and conditions of contract vehicles (BPA, BOA, national contracts) awarded & managed by the NAC National Contract Service?

  6. What happens in my open market waiver request is denied?

  7. Are VA research offices exempt from the open market waiver request process?

  8. How long is a waiver request valid?

  9. What is the turnaround time for the NAC HCA to review my waiver request?

  10. What is the process for submitting and reviewing an emergency waiver request?


1.  Is there a list of NAC blanket approvals, waivers, or exemptions?

No, the NAC does not maintain a list of blanket approvals, waivers, or exemptions as each waiver request is reviewed on its own merit.   Facilities are encouraged to review VHA&rsquos handbook and local waiver policies.

2.  Are there any products under FSC 65/66 that are exempt from the requirement to submit an open market waiver request to the NAC?

No, VA ordering activities are required to submit an open market waiver request for all products that fall within the scope of FSC 65/66.  The only instance in which you are not required to submit a waiver is if the product does not fall under an existing SIN category or the required products is not “new”, such as refurbished items.

3.  When am I required to submit an open market waiver request to the NAC?

VA ordering activities are required to submit an open market waiver request for all products that fall within the scope of FSC 65/66.  The only instance in which you are not required to submit a waiver is if the product does not fall under an existing SIN category.

General Guidance:

  1. You must submit a waiver request if your research indicates that there is a like or similar item on Schedule contract but you have documented a compelling clinical need to use the non-contract item.
  2. If the product falls within the scope of FSC 65/66 but you cannot find a like/similar item on Schedule contract you must submit a waiver request.  The request will simply state that the relevant Schedule program does not carry a like or similar item.
  3. If the product falls within FSC 65/66 but does not fall within an existing SIN category then you are not required to submit a waiver request and you may order the item using open market ordering procedures.

4.  Am I required to submit a waiver for consumables, spare parts, peripheral items, etc. that are not available on Schedule?

Yes, if the consumables, spare parts, peripheral items, etc. fall within the scope of FSC 65/66 then you are required to submit a waiver request.  Your justification for this request may be that the base product (ordered on Schedule) requires the use of OEM consumables, spare parts, peripherals, etc. and that like/similar products will not meet your need.

5.  How can I find the terms and conditions of contract vehicles (BPA, BOA, national contracts) awarded & managed by the NAC National Contract Service?

Most National Contract Service vehicles can be found through the VA Store and the NAC Contract Catalog Search Tool.  To request specific information contact the National Contract Service Help Desk:

(e) ncshelpdesk@va.gov | (p) (708) 786-5250

How can I tell if these vehicles are single or multiple award?
Using the VA’s Ordering Officer SharePoint system, navigate to the commodity class of product page and refer to the “Current Contract Listing”.   The listings include BPAs, BOAs, and National Contracts.
The NAC Contract Catalog Search Tool now provides information about BPAs and National Contracts managed by the NCS.
Email the National Contract Service Help Desk for access to the appropriate commodity class division and to the Ordering Officer SharePoint site.
If a NCS contract vehicle is multiple award how do I ensure that I give it fair opportunity?
Most National Contracts are mandatory source, single award, competed requirements type contracts.  If ordering from a multiple awarded national BPA for similar type products, rotate purchases between awarded vendors.

6.  What happens in my open market waiver request is denied?

If your open market waiver request is denied at any approving level and you still require the requested product you will need to:

  • If it is determined that a like or similar product is available under an existing VA Schedule contract then you must order from a Schedule contractor.
  • If no Schedule contract item will meet your need, you may need to revisit your waiver document to add additional clinical justification and resubmit through the waiver process.  Be sure to review your documentation and ensure that there really are no like or similar items already on contract.
  • If there are like/similar items on Schedule but they will not meet your need, then you must provide additional just
  • Conduct additional research as necessary to support your justification.  Remember the requester is responsible for providing the clinical justification and supporting documentation for the waiver request.  The contracting office is responsible for reviewing existing sources, performing market research, and submitting the waiver through the appropriate chain of approvals.

7.  Are VA research offices exempt from the open market waiver request process?

No, all VA ordering activities, including VA research offices, are required to submit an open market waiver request to buy products from a non-Schedule source but that fall within FSC 65/66 and are covered under VA's FSS contracts.

8.  How long is a waiver request valid?

Typically, open market waiver requests are approved for a one time purchase.  By including your estimated annual usage data in the waiver request we can identify if it is a product that should be added to the Schedule program allowing our contracting officers to begin working with identified vendors to add the product to the Schedule program.  Waiver requests for more than a “one time” purchase can be submitted and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

9.  What is the turnaround time for the NAC HCA to review my waiver request?

The NAC seeks to complete all reviews within 30 calendar days of receipt of the request from the VHA’s Chief Procurement & Logistics Office.  Actual review times will depend on the complexity, accuracy, and completeness of the request.

10.  What is the process for submitting and reviewing an emergency waiver request?

In accordance with VHA Directive 7408.1, Requesting Waivers from the Requirement to Use VA Federal Supply Schedules the facility’s Chief of Staff has the authority to authorize an emergency waiver request to meet an immediate need that ensures appropriate patient care.  Failure to submit a request in a timely manner will not result in approval of an emergency waiver.  Upon approval, a copy of the approved emergency waiver must be provided to the NAC.

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