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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Two contracts and one customer: both very different protest results

In the world of bid protests sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Just ask NCI Inc.

The company’s AdvancedMed unit prevailed in a bid protest in November involving a contract the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had awarded to Safeguard Service Inc.

NCI was successful in its argument that CMS ignored a possible organizational conflict-ofinterest. CMS was ordered by the Government Accountability Office to determine and document if there is an OCI, whether it can be mitigated and then make a new contract award if necessary.

Or if the agency determines there is no OCI, then it needs to rewrite the solicitation.

Either way, NCI gets another bite at this contract. That was in November.

Now fast forward to December. This time a separate CMS contract went to Health Integrity LLC.

NCI challenged the decision and claimed CMS made a different decision on a very similar procurement. The company also objected to how the best value determination was developed.

GAO rejected NCI’s argument this time. In the case of two contracts with two different awards, GAO said these were different contracts with different solicitations and different evaluation criteria. Both are for Unified Program Integrity Contactor positions, but in different regions of the country.

The best value determination is a little more complex. Health Integrity scored “Very Good” on factors such as key personnel and staffing, past performance, small business utilization and responses to the scenarios for functional requirements.

NCI on the other hand scored "Satisfactory."

Both were acceptable for Section 508 compliance. Health Integrity also scored Very Good for its overall technical rating and NCI scored Satisfactory.

With those scores, it was not hard for CMS to pick Health Integrity even though its price was $87 million and NCI's was $79.3 million.

NCI challenged the reasonableness of CMS’ evaluation but GAO rejected that and backed the documentation CMS provided to support its decision.

The opposite results of NCI’s two protests highlight one of the findings of the recent Rand study on bid protests.

One of the things Rand examined was whether there were enough similar factors among bid protests to determine a result earlier. But Rand said they found that facts behind each bid protest are very unique and need to be examined on a case by case basis.

To prove that point, NCI got two very different results from GAO with the very same customer.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jan 08, 2018 at 1:36 PM

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