When the Base Year Executive Summary for our NIH-wide performance based contract for the provision of interpreting services with Sign Language Associates (SLA) was released last summer, the Worksite Enrichment Programs Branch (WEPB), Division of Support Services (DSS), Office of Research Services (ORS) received a tremendous amount of positive feedback. Our goal had been to capture the usage and trend data for our web-based request system, and to also show how SLA fared in regards to the contract's stated performance standards. Therefore, we would again like to share an overview of this contract's activities for the First Option year which ended on May 31, 2001.
While we thought that our first year's trend data had provided us with sound usage projections, we now see that there were several "unknowns" which caused the interpreting service hours used to go far beyond our estimates. This is best illustrated by the hours of service provided in June 2000 to May 2001. In June of 2000, the contract provided 678.5 billable hours, and by May 2001 this figure rose to 1162.5 billable hours. This dramatic increase indicates that NIH consumers are still using our services with confidence, but more importantly, we are committed and able to meet interpreting service request increases which help promote reasonable accommodations for additional new staff, patients, interns and visitors.
Numbers are one aspect for measuring our success in administering our contract with SLA. However, there are eight specific performance standards which have financial penalties to the contractor if not met for each contract month. These standards are used by the Project Office to more effectively administer the services being provided by SLA to the NIH. To date, there was only one month, November, when SLA was penalized for not meeting two of the eight standards. The Project Office saw that SLA had encountered internal scheduling and logistical issues which caused several requests not to be filled for that month. These deficiencies were adequately addressed by SLA. Since that time, we are pleased to note that SLA has continued to meet and or exceed all standards.
The Project Office is also very proud of the relationships we have built and maintained with SLA and the NIH. This has been accomplished by keeping communication channels open through various means. Over the past year, we made several enhancements to our system based upon valuable input from our consumers. Of special note was including a place to indicate if the requestor/alternate's number was TTY on the request form; updating the program so that when edits were necessary when placing a request one did not have to re-enter all previous information; and also having the View Events option appear with a consumer's most recent events at the top. For the continued collaboration with those who took the time to share feedback and our DSS IT support for making the suggestions work, the Project Office offers our special thanks.
We were also pleased to have been invited and attend several NIH fairs and festivals last year which gave us opportunities to share the success of the NIH-wide centralized interpreting services contract as well as showcase our web-based request system. These events were a great internal NIH advertisement tool, and also spawned interest from other Federal agencies wishing to implement systems which emulate ours.
Please find attached some informational highlights related to the second year of contract activities. We hope you will find it illuminating and of interest. The WEPB again looks forward to continuing to assist in providing exceptional interpreting services to the NIH for the remainder of this contract. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Carole Harman, Quality Assurance Assistant, at 402-8180 (v), 435-1908 (tty) or via email at HarmanC@ors.od.nih.gov.