Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: NaphCare, Inc.
Agency: Department of Justice
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Protest challenging an agency’s evaluation and selection decision is denied where the record demonstrates that the evaluation and source selection decision were reasonable and consistent with the solicitation’s evaluation criteria.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
NaphCare, Inc. protested the award to Seven Corners, Inc. of a contract for comprehensive medical services for the Federal Correctional Complex in Allenwood, Pennsylvania. The RFP contemplated award on a best value basis of a requirements contract with fixed unit prices, considering technical, past performance, SDB participation, and price. Under the technical approach, offerors were to provide an appropriate mix of resources to deliver quality medical care while mitigating the government’s cost and security risks. Technical subfactors included the level of diversity of the services proposed and the driving distance and conditions to/from the community-based providers.
The GAO found that NaphCare had not demonstrated that the agency’s evaluation or source selection decision was unreasonable. It noted that Seven Corners proposed using a greater number of facilities, located closer to the correctional facility, for both inpatient and outpatient services, and that it also proposed a greater number of physicians in more specialties. It found reasonable the agency’s conclusion that Seven Corners’ proposal reflected technical superiority with fewer security risks than NaphCare’s. The GAO then found that, contrary to the protestor’s arguments, the record supported that the agency used past utilization rates only to measure potential performance risks presented by NaphCare’s limited hospital network. Finally, the GAO denied NaphCare’s argument that the agency never determined was the cost of performance would be under each offeror’s proposal. The GAO noted that RFP provided that the agency would evaluate proposed rates across various pricing categories, but did not provide for calculating or evaluating an overall proposed price.
Offerors bear the burden of submitting adequately written proposals that fully address the requirements of the solicitation. Prior to drafting proposals, offerors should carefully read the evaluation criteria so as to better understand how they can tailor their proposals to satisfy the needs of the government. In a best value procurement where security risks are a concern, offerors must remain aware that offering a riskier yet lower-priced solution may not be in the best interests of the government.