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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

GAO backs Deloitte's protest of $80M Defense Health Agency contract

Deloitte Consulting won on three of the four points it argued in a bid protest involving a Defense Health Agency contract.

DHA originally awarded the contract to Data Networks Corp., which won the Governance, Requirements and Architecture Management Support contract, or GRAMS, with a $79.8 million bid. Deloitte's bid was redacted from the GAO decision.

Deloitte challenged how the agency evaluated key personnel and past performance. It also claimed the DHS conducted unequal discussions.

The Government Accountability Office agreed with all three of those points. It is recommending that DHA reopen discussions with bidders, request new final proposals and then document a new evaluation.

But the one part of Deloitte’s protest that GAO rejected was that Data Networks had an organizational conflict of interest.

Data Networks reported the potential conflict to DHA. The company is on the Theater Medical Data Store/Medical Situational Awareness in Theater contract. A contracting officer accepted Data Networks mitigation plan and concluded that the connection between the two contracts was minimal. Also, Theater Medical Data Store contract would likely end before the GRAMS contract ended.

GAO concluded that DHA had conducted a reasonable analysis of the potential conflict of interest and the agency’s conclusion was reasonable.

But on the other allegations, DHA had fallen short in its evaluation. For example, DHA failed to recognize that the personnel proposed by Data Networks didn’t match qualifications in the solicitation. One requirement was that the person has to have more than five years of experience but the person in the proposal had less than two.

In the area of unequal discussions, DHA informed Data Networks about problems with its past performance references but didn’t do the same for Deloitte when it had a similar issue.

So Deloitte is back in the running for this contract, which DHA wants to use to improve user functionality in the Military Health System. The contract will interact with end users to prioritize requirements. Basically, they’ll be asking end users such as doctors at VA hospitals about what need or functionality they would like added to their IT systems.

It’s been hotly contested. Deloitte protested once before when Data Networks won the contract. DHA pulled that reward to take a corrective action and then awarded the contract again to Data Networks, which kicked off this protest.

So, while Deloitte has successfully fought for another bite at the project, there is no guarantee of success this time around.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on May 17, 2016 at 9:27 AM

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