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Event Details

A View from the Inside

CMS Master Class - Budget, Leadership and Technical Proposal Panel (BLT) Seminar and Workshop

November 5th or 7th - 8:30 to 4:30 - Registration begin at 7:30 a.m.

Martin's West, 6817 Dogwood Rd, Baltimore, MD 21244

At this full day training Master Class BLT Seminar and Workshop, you are going to learn about what activities take place in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) offices during the budget process, how leadership decisions are made throughout the Agency, and you will be an actual technical panel member of a CMS technical panel reviewing mock proposal submissions. You will receive the same instructions and walk through the same processes as an actual CMS technical panel member. In addition, there will be many more CMS-centered learning activities and exercises to help you to understand and capture business at the Agency.

The material presented at this event is totally original prepared by the CMS experts leading the event. You will receive over 150 pages of original printed information as well as experience creative learning exercises within each major presentation. This valuable information is not available anywhere, even within CMS. The experts have carefully prepared information and content specifically to educate the attendees of this unique event.  

In the morning session, Jeff Clark will deliver a lively presentation detailing the Federal budget process, the ins and outs of the CMS budget, its internal processes and how the CMS budget is formulated from start to finish. He will educate attendees about the documents and tools needed to track CMS spending through the years going forward. Jeff will dive into the details of the types of funding, how certain funding can be used, and how it may impact your ability to perform work at CMS. Jeff will conclude with an informative discussion on what to expect from the FY 2019 budget submission. Jeff is the CMS budget expert. He is an engaging public speaker and is excited to pass on his knowledge to the attendees. This is the only CMS focused event or activity he has planned in his post-retirement. He is very happy in retirement, but is looking forward to participating in this one-time event. This is the only opportunity to receive his copyrighted material, education, and hear an engaging presentation from the CMS Budget expert.

After a morning break, Debbie Hattery will present her original copyrighted material prepared just for this Master Class BLT Seminar and Workshop. Her presentation will include her lessons learned in leadership after serving 21 years at CMS. Debbie was part of CMS' Senior Executive Service where she most recently served as Deputy Director for the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality (CCSQ). During her tenure at CMS she also served as a Group Director for the Information Systems Group (ISG) and as a Group Director leading the Value Based Purchasing program in its infancy. Debbie's knowledge and experience with the Agency are unmatched. Throughout her career Debbie has been in the center of the decision making for several major programs at CMS.

Debbie's responsibilities have also included oversight and leadership direction for operations of the Agency's budget, contracts, personnel and information systems as well as representing CCSQ on several executive level steering committees. She will provide valuable information regarding some of the operational challenges and critical processes that impact CMS as it implements programs and services. She will discuss the Agency's organizational structure, external events that impact how the Agency functions, and share thoughts and ideas on how to work constructively with CMS leadership, management and subject matter experts. She will review the discuss making processes she has experienced. Debbie's vast knowledge of CMS' operational structure and decision making processes will be passed on to Master Class attendees. Her recent retirement provides the attendees with relevant knowledge and information about the decision making processes at CMS.     

As an added bonus, Jeff, Debbie, Mel and Brian will share with you our ideas on when you should engage Agency officials and Brian will present material including eight techniques that should be considered prior to engaging an Agency official. Desirea will keep the discussion lively by injecting contractors’ perspectives as the information and material continues to flow.

While the buffet lunch is served (which includes an unlimited supply of Maryland Crab cakes and not BLT sandwiches), Henry Chao will engage the audience with the details of his soon to be released book, Success or Failure: The Untold Story of The book will be released on September 14th, 2018. Its timing and subject matter make the lunch discussion relevant to educating the event attendees. 

In the afternoon Master Class workshop, Mel Broussard will educate the attendees on the detailed processes CMS uses to evaluate proposals. During his career at CMS, he was a Technical Evaluation Panel (TEP) lead for dozens of procurements. He was responsible for ensuring TEP familiarity with procedures for evaluating technical and cost proposals for compliance to policy, regulations, proposal instructions, and evaluation criteria. Mel's presentation will provide the attendees with invaluable instruction and information regarding these processes and procedures. 

During Mel's presentation, Brian Hebbel will interject his thoughts on CMS' process from a contracting officer's perspective, Brian's presentation includes pages of do's and don'ts / advice contractors should consider when putting together their technical and business proposals. Brian's unique and educational material was carefully compiled using his own experiences and knowledge from a career as a CMS contracting officer as well as the results of interviews with over 20 CMS contracting officers and technical panel chairs.

Following Mel's presentation and a short break, attendees will break up into groups of three and be given a short mock Request for Proposal and three mock technical proposals to review and evaluate. The Request for Proposal and technical proposals were written by Desirea, with the contractor community in mind. Mel also provided input to ensure a lively discussion among panel members. During this exercise, Mel will provide the direction and instruction as if he were leading an actual technical panel. The result will be a lively discussion of strengths, weaknesses, significant weaknesses and deficiencies of the mock proposals.  Attendees will also write-up their findings in the form of questions for negotiations. Finally, attendees will contemplate their best value analysis and select an awardee. 

Desirea Votaw will provide the industry's perspective during the event, creating lively discussions from the BLT material and presentations. She will interject the contractor's perspectives as the information and material are presented.

Does this sound like a great day? Sign up now to participate in this unique and educational CMS focused seminar and workshop. 


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Brian Hebbel

Brian Hebbel created the idea and pulled together the experts for this CMS centered workshop event.  Prior to his retirement in 2017, Brian was a senior acquisition official (Group Director) at the CMS Office of Acquisition and Grants Management (OAGM) with over 34 years of federal contracting experience. He was the longest serving contracting official at CMS. During his career at CMS, Brian provided oversight to three contracting divisions awarding $1,500,000,000 in contract awards in FY 2017. As a leader in the Agency, Brian provided oversight and guidance to acquisition strategies and schedules, solicitation requirements, source selection, and resolving complex contracting issues.

Brian is the author of How to Market & Sell to the U.S. Government, A View from the Inside. In March 2018, Brian also released a fictional literary novel, Painting Deception.

He has been the Master of Ceremony for three years at the National Contract Management Association Woodlawn Chapter Lunch & Learn events and is a frequent speaker at events in the federal contracting field. 

He recently formed BARC Business Advisors LLC, to Bring Acquisition Results to Contractors (BARC).

Brian also has a Masters Degree from National Defense University: Industrial College of the Armed Forces - National Security Strategy:  1999.


Debra Hattery, RN, MS

Debbra “Debbie” is the sole proprietor of DMHattery Consulting LLC which she established in 2018 after retiring from CMS.  Debbie established her consulting company to share the lessons she learned during her 21 year career at CMS regarding some of the operational challenges and critical processes that impact CMS as it implements programs and services required in support of the beneficiaries and the providers who receive care and work in our nation’s health care systems.

Debbie was part of CMS’ Senior Executive Service (SES) where she most recently served as Deputy Director for the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality (CCSQ). Her major responsibilities included oversight and leadership direction for the operations of the Center’s budgets, contracts, personnel and information systems as well as representing the Center on several executive level steering committees.  During the last year, in addition to her CCSQ responsibilities, she was asked by the Deputy Administrator for Quality and Deputy COO to serve as the executive lead in support of other CMS executives in the adoption and spread of lean process improvement principles and leader behaviors throughout CMS.  This came about in large part because of her success in improving processes, developing the management team, and advancing a culture of excellence throughout CCSQ.

Immediately prior to the CCSQ Deputy Director position, Debbie was the SES Group Director for the Information Systems Group (ISG).  The ISG in CCSQ provides the full range of IT services related to infrastructure, software development, and customer support and project management for all of the Medicare quality and value-based purchasing programs, Survey and Certification, the Quality Improvement Organizations, and End Stage Renal Disease program.

As a first line manager and analyst, Debbie worked in the area of quality measurement, quality improvement, Medicare program integrity, and with health and safety regulation development. Prior to joining CMS her career included management and direct patient care as a registered nurse, primarily in hospital settings.

Debbie received her Bachelor and Master Degrees in nursing from the University of Maryland. She also holds a certificate in health policy from UMBC and Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from American University in Washington, DC.

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Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark is an expert in the Federal Government budget process having 40 years of budget experience. He started his federal career performing budget work for the Quality Improvement Organization Program that was previously part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Public Health Service, and was one of the original staff members of CMS when it was established as the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) in 1977. 

He served as CMS Director of Budget Execution, managing the Agency's annual $1 trillion budget, for 18 years. He worked closely with senior staff at CMS, HHS, the President's Office of Management and Budget, and Congressional appropriation committees to ensure sufficient funds were justified, appropriated, allocated, and controlled. During his career, he was the recipient of the:

  • DHHS Secretary's Superior Service Award;
  • Chief Financial Officer's Vision Award;
  • Budget Officer's Stewardship Award;
  • CMS Administrator, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Information Officer, and Chief Procurement Officer Special Act Performance Awards for Innovative Budget Solutions.

Prior to his Federal service, Jeff was a financial analyst for General Electric Capital. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Ashland University.

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Mel Broussard

During his career at CMS, Mel ran the technical evaluation panels that reviewed contractor proposals. Mel was directly responsible for the procurement activities of Office of Information Services (now Office of Information Technology – OIT).  Mel provided analysis and direction on IT projects requiring contract acquisition from initial planning through competition and award.

He functioned on procurements as the Technical Evaluation Panel (TEP) lead and was responsible for ensuring TEP familiarity with procedures for evaluating technical and cost proposals for compliance to policy, regulations, proposal instructions, and evaluation criteria. He has trained many of the technical panel members who are currently reviewing contractors proposals at CMS. 

He ensured all TEP participants were aware of, and in agreement with, procurement schedule and participation requirements, as well as pre-proposal delivery preparation, i.e. he made sure participants read the SOW and all modifications, the evaluation criteria, Q&As, and any other materials required to ensure participants could competently read and score proposals. He was responsible for instituting buy-in of individual TEP participant’s supervisor, ensuring supervisors understood that TEP participants must remain on the panel until award decisions were made and justified.

He implemented the first mandatory-attendance “live-caucus”, wherein the TEP and Contract Specialist reviewed the technical proposal they had assessed and determined a rating. This included pre-caucus completion of an evaluation worksheet listing the following:

  • what is the strength or weakness,
  • why was it a strength or weakness,
  • impact to work,
  • proposal section and page, and
  • SOW requirement and/or evaluation criteria and page.

Upon completion of all proposal assessments, he also inaugurated Level-Set-and-Rank caucus, with Contracting Officer (CO) mandatory-attendance, for the purpose of ordering the technical solutions of the contractors. He then prepared and submitted TEP technical reports, including first-ever TEP signatures acknowledging veracity of content.

After subsequent delivery of cost proposals, TEP assessed the reasonableness of hours and labor proposed, ODCs, etc., which was followed by a CO-attended caucus. This yielded a cost report, also signed by the TEP. As necessary, proposal revisions requested and evaluated using the same procedures described above. TEP chair also participated in discussions, negotiations and contractor debriefs.  

Mel is a Vietnam veteran and received his Bachelor's Degree from Loyola College. 

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Henry Chao

Mr. Chao has over 20 years of experience as a Federal government Senior Executive leading national scale implementations of complex healthcare programs.  Over the course of his esteemed career in public service formulating strategies and directing the implementation of major programs, Mr. Chao led innovative solution development efforts and delivered technical capabilities for national and state level healthcare initiatives. Mr. Chao fully embraced the role of change agent and effectively managed all facets of product and systems lifecycle to meet go-to-market strategies. As a Chief Technology Officer he established technical standards and reference architectures for the Medicare and Medicaid programs to promote greater efficiency and responsiveness to key healthcare business processes.  As a CIO Mr. Chao optimized secure and efficient data sharing across Federal and State Programs through implementation of a data services hub and built from ground up, a major IT organization to support the Insurance Marketplace under the Affordable Care Act supporting one of the most significant program implementation challenges in the history of healthcare in the US.  As a recognized and trusted leader he forged strategic relationships and formed coalitions with government and commercial organizations across the healthcare ecosystem to achieve common policy and business objectives.

Mr. Chao recently retired from Federal Service after a combined time from military service and public service as is actively consulting with several major Healthcare and Information Technology organizations.


Desirea Votaw, MS, BA

Desirea Votaw is bringing her industry perspective to this illustrious panel of experts as she has been where you are, many times. She is an experienced independent business development professional with extensive knowledge of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) programs, goals, and acquisition strategies. She uses her knowledge and network to develop pipelines, identify opportunities, create teams, and define strategies to help companies pursue contracts with CMS.  She is the Creator of Meraki Creators, LLC.

Meraki Creators evolved from a vision of doing business in a way that is aligned to the conscious evolution of this period in human history. Collectively, we are increasingly realizing that we are stronger together, and thanks to break-throughs in quantum physics, beginning to understand that we are all inextricably linked, referred to in some circles as entanglement (remember that "spooky action at a distance" Einstein commented on?). I believe each individual creates his or her reality through intention and emotion. It is time to take this practical knowledge, and apply it to the business world. Why blend the etherical with the economical? I believe John E. Mackey, CEO and Founder of Whole Foods, summed it up perfectly in Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business,

“This is what we know to be true: business is good because it creates value, it is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange, it is noble because it can elevate our existence, and it is heroic because it lifts people out of poverty and creates prosperity.”