Colonial Federal Healthcare, LLC U.S. Government Accountability Office

Colonial Federal Healthcare, LLC U.S. Government Accountability Office

resolution

Issue: Colonial Federal Healthcare, LLC

file: B-421977; B-421977.2

date: November 14, 2023

Randy Kamenetzky, for the demonstrator.

Daniel J. McFeely, Esq., Department of Veterans Affairs, for the agency.

Todd C. Culliton, Esq., and Scott H. Riback, Esq., Office of the General Counsel, Government Accountability Office.

Understand

Initial protest claims are dismissed when the protester fails to provide feedback within 10 days of receiving the agency’s report; Supplemental claims are dismissed as untimely and not within the scope of our office’s jurisdiction.

Colonial Federal Healthcare, LLC, of ​​Chantilly, Virginia, protests the award of the contract to DeployAHP, LLC, of ​​Culver City, California, under Request for Proposal (RFP) No. 36C26223R0020, issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for Nurse Employment Services . The protester argues that the agency unreasonably evaluated the proposals and made the selection decision incorrectly.

We refuse to protest

background

On February 10, 2022, the Department of Veterans Affairs issued a Request for Proposals to Procure Nurse Employment Services, limiting competition to Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB). Agency Report (AR), Tab 2, RFP at 2, 11. The RFP contemplated the award of multiple indefinite-priced, indefinite-quantity delivery contracts to be performed over a one-year base period and four one-year option periods. Identification card. At 5-11, 58, 62. The award will be offered on a swap basis of best value taking into account experience and price factors. Identification card. At 58. Experience is more important than suggested prices. Identification card.

Thirty-three proposals were submitted before the March 3, 2023, submission deadline. The agency determined that BTL Technologies, Inc. DeployAHP, LLC and EGA Associates, LLC provided the best values ​​and awarded the contracts to these three companies. AR, Tab 5, Source Selection Decision Memorandum (SSDM) at 21.

When evaluating Colonial’s bid, the agency gave a “satisfactory” rating to the company’s experience. AR, tab 5, SSDM at 10. The agency noted that the company’s proposal did not demonstrate that it had experience providing comparable nurse staffing for two of the identified subspecialties. Identification card.

On September 8, 2023, the agency informed Colonial that its proposal was unsuccessful. AR, Tab 7, Notice of Unsuccessful Bidder at 3. Later that day, Colonial requested a debrief. Identification card. On 4. On September 12, the agency provided Colonial with its written report, disclosing the evaluation results and rationale for the award. Identification card. On 9.

On September 13, Colonial requested further clarification on why its proposal was not selected when compared to the AHP deployment proposal. AR, Tab 7, Notice of Unsuccessful Bidder at 11. Later that day, the agency responded that the bid evaluated as having “good” experience demonstrated better strength of experience in providing nursing services and was evaluated as superior to any A presentation rated as “satisfactory”. ” expertise. Identification card. On 16.

On September 17, Colonial filed a preliminary protest with our office challenging the agency’s award to DeployAHP. The protester raised several allegations, primarily alleging that the agency unreasonably evaluated its proposal, improperly selected DeployAHP for the award, and incorrectly determined that DeployAHP was a responsible contractor.

Then, on October 17, the protester filed a supplemental protest, arguing that DeployAHP is not an eligible SDVOSB because that company acts as a “pass-through entity” for another company.

On October 18, the VA submitted its report in response to the initial protest.

Then, on October 24, the agency asked that the supplemental protest be dismissed as untimely and outside our jurisdiction (on the last point, the agency said the issue was SBA’s, not our office’s). On October 25, Colonial Federal Healthcare filed a response to the agency’s request to dismiss the additional protest, arguing that it was timely and within our jurisdiction.

On October 31 (more than 10 days after the agency’s report was filed), the VA requested dismissal of the initial protest, arguing that the protester failed to provide comments in response to the agency’s report. On the same day, the protester filed a memorandum responding to the agency’s request to dismiss the initial protest, arguing that it had in fact made its comments. The protester directed our attention to his October 25 report in response to the agency’s request to deny further protest.

discussion

After reviewing the record, we reject both the primary and supplemental objections. We discuss each below.

Initial protest

As mentioned, the protester raised several allegations at his initial protest on September 17. Essentially, the protester argued that the agency unreasonably evaluated its trial and unreasonably selected DeployAHP for the award. The protester also argued that DeployAHP lacked the capacity to administer this contract – and, in fact, DeployAHP was not responsible.

The agency provided an objective response to all the initial protest allegations in its October 18 report. The protester did not respond substantively to the agency’s positions in any subsequent file.

Our regulations state that a demonstrator must submit comments within 10 days after the agency submits its report, except where our office grants an extension of time or sets a shorter time period for submitting comments. 4 CFR § 21.3(i)(1).

Here, the agency submitted its report on October 18, and the protester was required, pursuant to 4 CFR § 21.3(i)(1), to submit comments in response to the agency’s report by October 30. Despite this requirement, Colonial has never provided any feedback. While the protester argues that his October 25 response to the agency’s request to deny the supplemental protest constitutes his comments, we are not convinced. Nowhere in this file did the protester provide any substantive response to the agency’s position regarding the merits of the initial protest. Instead, the protester merely presented a counterargument to the agency’s request to deny further protest. Accordingly, we reject the initial protest allegations.

Supplementary protest

Colonial filed its supplemental protest on October 17. In that filing, the protester argued that it had “disclosed substantial evidence” showing that DeployAHP operated as a “pass-through entity” for another company. Colonial argued that DeployAHP was founded by another company owner, and simply used another individual’s qualifications to participate in competitions limited to SDVOSB companies. In support of his claims, the protester cited publicly available information showing that DeployAHP and the other company used the same phone number and addresses. The protester also provided website screenshots showing that the owner of DeployAHP has an unrelated profession.

The agency requested that the supplemental protest be dismissed as untimely and outside our jurisdiction. Colonial argues that the allegations are timely because they were filed within 10 days of the date the challenger completed its investigation into DeployAHP’s eligibility, and that our office has jurisdiction because the challenge relates to the award of a federal contract.

After reviewing the supplemental allegations, we agree with the agency that they are untimely and outside the jurisdiction of our office.

Regarding timeliness, our regulations provide that a protest must be filed no later than 10 days after the protester knows or should know the basis for his or her protest, whichever comes first. 4 CFR § 21.2(a)(2); an agreement. Kolb Grading, LLCB‑420310.2, 8 December 2021, 2022 CPD ¶ 6 at 2. Protesters have a positive obligation to diligently pursue information forming the basis of their protest and must do so in a manner that is reasonably appropriate, taking into account the circumstances of the case. General Physics Federal Systems, IncB‑274795, January 6, 1997, 97-1 Continuing Professional Development ¶ 8 at 2.

Here, Colonial failed to diligently pursue the information forming the basis of its protest and therefore filed it more than 10 days after it became aware of the basis for the supplemental allegations. As stated, Colonial only cites publicly available information that it claims is evidence showing that DeployAHP is not a qualified SDVOSB. This information was supposed to be reviewed shortly after Colonial learned that DeployAHP had been selected as one of the winners, and this claim was supposed to be filed with our office within 10 days of the conclusion of the debriefing session on September 12. See. Federal General Physics Sys., Inc., above(The protest claims were dismissed as untimely when the protester failed to diligently pursue publicly available information.) Colonial also did not explain why the information was not immediately available or could not have been discovered sooner. Accordingly, we conclude that Colonial’s supplementary protest was untimely.

We also agree with the agency that our office does not have jurisdiction to review any challenge to DeployAHP’s SDVOSB eligibility. The Small Business Act, 15 USC § 637(b)(6), gives the Small Business Administration, and not our office, conclusive authority to determine matters of small business size status with respect to Federal procurement. See also 4 CFR § 21.5(b)(1). Likewise, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is the designated authority for determining whether a business qualifies as an SDVOSB, and there are established procedures for interested parties to challenge a business’s status as a qualified SDVOSB. 15 USC §§ 632(f), 657(b); 13 CFR points. 128. Therefore, our office will not make or review SDVOSB case decisions. Upextec CompanyB‑415258, December 12, 2017, 2017 CPD ¶ 381 at 5; Accord Hurricane Consulting, IncB-404619 et al.March 17, 2011, 2011 Continuing Professional Development ¶ 70 at 5-6.

Here, the protester argues that DeployAHP is not a qualifying SDVOSB because it is a “pass-through entity” of a larger non-veteran-owned corporation. This claim amounts to a challenge to the volume case because the Complainant effectively complains that DeployAHP materially misrepresented its eligibility as an SDVOSB. See OBXtek, Inc., above (While rejecting the claim that the bidder materially misrepresented its eligibility to the SDVOSB because our office lacks jurisdiction to review an appeal in case of size). Therefore, we also conclude that our office does not have jurisdiction to hear this matter.

The protest was rejected.

Ida Emanuele Perez
General Counsel

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