Link: GAO Decision
Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
Disposition: Protests Sustained.
The Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006 requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to determine whether two or more service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns can meet its requirements at a reasonable price before proceeding with Federal Supply Schedule acquisitions.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
Aldevra protested the terms of two solicitations, one for refrigerators for the Eastern Colorado Healthcare System, and the other for miscellaneous kitchen equipment for the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System. The solicitations were issued on an unrestricted basis to vendors holding FSS contracts. Aldevra argued that the agency failed to first conduct market research to determine whether the procurements should be set aside for SDVOSB concerns.
The GAO noted that it sustained a protest by Aldevra on the same grounds in March. Consistent with its analysis in the earlier protest, the GAO found that the Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006 requires that the VA conduct market research to determine whether there are two or more eligible SDVOSB (or VOSB) concerns capable of performing the agency’s requirements prior to conducting the procurements using FSS procedures.
The VA is required to consider setting aside a procurement for SDVOSBs or VOSBs before conducting full and open competition or electing to procure through the FSS. SDVOSBs and VOSBs should maintain their status in the VIP database so as to qualify as an interested party should the VA fail to follow set-aside regulations. This is one of several GAO protests that Aldevra has successfully protested. However, the VA has officially notified the GAO in previous decisions that it would not follow the GAO recommendation based on its disagreement with the GAO over its interpretation of the law.