Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
Disposition: Protest denied.
Keywords: Evaluation criteria
General Counsel, P.C. Highlight: It is always reasonable for an agency to consider whether an offeror has specific experience directly related to the work to be performed under the solicitation, even if such experience is not explicitly called for in the solicitation.
Fujifilm Medical Systems USA, Inc. protested the award of a contract to AGFA HealthCare Corporation by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) under a request for proposals (RFP) for picture archiving and communication system (PACS) services for Veterans Integrated Service Network 20 (VISN 20). Among other allegations, Fujifilm alleged that the agency employed an unstated evaluation criterion when it downgraded its proposal under the experience factor, which required vendors to have operated a program similar in scope and complexity to that proposed for a minimum of 1 year. It alleged that its proposal was improperly downgraded because it lacked VA-specific experience, which had not been identified as an evaluation criterion in the RFP. But the record showed that the agency determined that Fujifilm’s proposal met the RFP requirement under the experience factor, and thus evaluated it as acceptable under that factor.
The GAO concluded that an agency properly may take into account specific matters that are logically encompassed by, or related to, the stated evaluation criteria, even when they are not expressly identified as evaluation criteria. In addition, it is always reasonable for an agency to consider whether an offeror has specific experience directly related to the work to be performed under the solicitation, even if such experience is not explicitly called for in the solicitation, which is what the VA did here. Because the VA’s evaluation criteria was consistent with the terms and requirements of the RFP and they found that Fujifilm’s proposal met (but did not exceed) the minimum requirements of the RFP in this area, the GAO did not object to the agency’s evaluation.