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HHS Small Business Program Policy Manual

Chapter 5: Small Business Review of Simplified Acquisition Actions

Topics in this Chapter:

  1. General
  2. Actions Below the Micro-Purchase Threshold
  3. Actions Above the Micro-Purchase Threshold and Below $25,000
  4. Actions Which Exceed $25,000 and Below the Simplified Acquisition Threshold
  5. Market Research
  6. Federal Supply Schedules, BPAs and Other Contract Vehicles

This part sets forth policy and procedure about HHS’ procedure for actions below the Simplified Acquisition Threshold ($100,000). It expands on key aspects of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and the U.S. Health and Human Services Acquisition Regulations (HHSAR).


The Contracting Official (CO), Contracting Officer Technical Representative (COTR) or Purchasing Agent (PA) (hereafter all are referred to as CO in this chapter) shall reserve requests for small business concerns for supplies or service with an anticipated dollar value that exceed the micro purchase threshold ($3,000), but does not exceed the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (SAT) ($150,000), for small business concerns. Foreign purchases and purchases from required sources of supply (Federal Prison Industries, Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled, mandatory Federal Supply Schedule contracts (FAR Subpart 13.003) are exempt from this requirement.

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In accordance with the FAR, a micro-purchase transaction is an acquisition of supplies or services (except construction) which does not exceed $3,000, except that in the case of construction subject to the Davis Bacon Act, the limit is $2,000, and acquisition subject to the Service Contract Act, the limit is $2,500. Micro-purchases may be awarded without competitive quotations if the CO determines the price fair and reasonable. The acquisition file must contain a brief justification which supports the CO’s determination. To the extent practicable, micro-purchases shall be distributed equitably among qualified suppliers. Further, it is the policy of the HHS to use small businesses to the maximum extent practicable for micro-purchases (FAR Subpart 13.003).

For Micro-purchase actions, the CO is not required to submit a HHS Form 653, Small Business Review and supporting documentation to the HHS SBS serving the OPDIV for review.

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In accordance with FAR Subpart 5.101(a)(2), requirements between $15,000 through $25,000 must be publicized. While an electronic Bid Board for publicizing requirements between $15,000 through $25,000 would enhance OPDIV accessibility to small business concerns, at a minimum COs must use a physical Bid Board to publicize requirements within the aforementioned dollar threshold.

Bid Board Notification must adhere to the following restrictions:

  • A statement that all responsible sources may submit a response, if timely received, must be considered by the agency.
  • The information must be posted no later than the date the solicitation is issued, and must remain posted for at least ten (10) calendar days or until after quotations have been opened, whichever is later.
The contact listing for HHS Simplified Acquisition Offices is situated at

If the CO determines that there is not a reasonable expectation that quotations will be received from two or more responsible small business concerns that are competitive in terms of market price, quality and delivery, the CO shall complete a HHS Form 653, document the file and proceed with the purchase on an unrestricted basis (FAR Subpart 13.106.1).

The CO shall complete and submit a HHS Form 653 package for all acquisitions above the micro-purchase threshold ($3,000) for the HHS SBS and SBA PCR review.* In the event that the SBA PCR requests access to the acquisition file, the CO will submit the HHS Form 653 package through its OPDIV SBS for review (FAR Subpart 19.501(f)).

Upon receipt of the HHS Form 653 package, a small business tracking number will be assigned to the procurement. The SBS has up to five (5) business days to conduct their review of the HHS Form 653 package. After the SBS review of the HHS Form 653, the package shall be forwarded to the SBA PCR for their review. In accordance with FAR Subpart 19.402(2) the SBA/PCR has up to 15 business days after receipt of the package to conduct a small business review.

At the conclusion of the SBS and the SBA PCR review, the acquisition official will receive a copy of the HHS Form 653 with 1) the SBS and SBA PCR signatures and 2) an assigned small business tracking number. In some instances, when the SBA PCR may not be available to conduct a timely review, block 15 on the HHS Form 653 will indicate “The SBA reserves the right to review the documentation at a later date”. The entire package shall be retained in the official contract file.

Note: If the OPDIV the Head of Contracting Activity (HCA) determines that the services or products are required to “support a contingency operation or to facilitate defense against or recovery from nuclear, biological, chemical, or radiological attack”, the threshold is $25,000 (FAR Subpart Part 13.201(g)(1).

A current version of the HHS Form 653 may be reviewed at

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In accordance with FAR Subpart 5.101(a)(1) and Subpart 5.2, requirements $25,000 or greater must be synopsized in the Government Point of Entry (GPE).  Purchases that 1) exceed $25,000; 2) are below the SAT; and 3) are not set aside for small business concerns require the completion and submission of a HHS Form 653 package (hereafter referred to as Form 653). The Form 653 shall be submitted for the OPDIV SBS and SBA PCR review at least 30 calendar days prior to the issuance of the solicitation (FAR Subpart 19.202). The Form 653 will be reviewed by the OPDIV SBS and SBA PCR in accordance with FAR Subpart 19.501(f) and must include:

  1. A Description of the Service or Product(s);
  2. Evaluation Criteria or Specifications, if applicable;
  3. Independent Government Cost Estimate (IGCE) or price quotations;
  4. Documentation which reflects market research conducted within the past 12 months; and
  5. A statement as to the results of market research justifying plans for other than small business consideration applicable to the subject acquisition strategy.

The CO should consult the OPDIV SBS if there are questions concerning the supporting documentation.

The OPDIV SBS will provide a response within five (5) business days as to whether the SBA PCR requires additional information or additional time to complete the SBA PCR review.

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Refer to Chapter Two (2) of this manual for details regarding Market Research.


Refer to Chapter Fifteen (15) of this manual for details regarding other contractual vehicles.

*Non-applicable if the OPDIV is successfully achieving assigned SB goals.


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Content created by Assist. Sec./Financial Resources - Small/Disadvantaged Business
Content last reviewed on April 24, 2015