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October 04, 2012

GAO Issues New Ruling over $543M VA Contract to Hewlett-Packard after IBM Challenges Award

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

IBM (News - Alert) has won a “protest” – a type of ruling by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) – in its attempt to overturn the awarding of a $543 million federal contract for wireless tracking to its rival Hewlett-Packard (News - Alert).

The GAO ruled that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs didn’t evaluate proposals from vendors seeking the contract in the correct manner, according to news reports.

“GAO sustained, or upheld, IBM’s protest, finding that the VA had made several prejudicial errors in its evaluation,” Ralph White, a GAO attorney, told Bloomberg Businessweek in an e-mail. “Those errors led to a source selection decision that GAO found was unreasonable since it relied on the erroneous evaluation conclusions to support the award decision.”

IBM lost out in 2011 on a contract with the VA. It was a five-year deal. More than 90 vendors competed for the contract.

The winners were H-P and SAIC (News - Alert) Inc., news reports said.

The GAO wants the VA to re-evaluate proposals for the wireless tracking contract, according to MarketWatch. The VA may also reopen the process so vendors could revise proposals, the news reports add.

H-P was “disappointed” by GAO ruling, a company spokeswoman told Bloomberg (News - Alert) Businessweek. In June, H-P was told to stop work on the project due to the IBM challenge.

The wireless technology to be provided to the VA would reduce lost equipment, show whether medical devices are sterilized and identify patients who may have received recalled products, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

In other GAO-related news, the GAO said earlier this summer that it may be time to take a second look at the health risks that can come from increased cell phone use, TMCnet reported.

To find out more about IBM visit the company at ITEXPO Austin 2012. Happening now at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX, ITEXPO (News - Alert) is the world’s premier IP communications event. Visit IBM in booth # 1324. For more information on ITEXPO Austin 2012 click here.

Edited by Braden Becker

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