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VA Re-awards $543 Million RTLS Contract to HP

HP Enterprise Services has regained its contract with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide real-time location system technology to VA medical centers nationwide, following a reevaluation ordered by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
By Claire Swedberg
Jan 18, 2013Following a request three months ago by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reevaluate its contract with Hewlett Packard's HP Enterprise Services division to implement real-time location system (RTLS) technology at its hospitals (see VA to Reassess Contract, Proposals for Nationwide RTLS Deployments), the VA has again awarded the contract to HP. The $543 million contract, awarded shortly after Jan. 1, 2013, covers the deployment of RTLS technology, including passive and active radio frequency identification tags and readers, at 152 medical centers and 1,400 ancillary facilities. Following several months of review, the VA once more selected HP this week for the Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract.

The technology is intended to improve health-care efficiency via a variety of RTLS hospital solutions. The five-year contract was initially awarded in June 2012 (see RFID News Roundup: Veterans Affairs Awards $543 Million RTLS Contract to HP to Cover All VA Hospitals, Clinics), following evaluation of RTLS technology for a separate contract at one network known as the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 11 (see Veterans Affairs Implementing RTLS Across Seven Midwest Hospitals). VISN 11's RTLS deployments, being overseen by HP Enterprise Services, are expected to be taken live by this summer.

Debbie Elgot
IBM had contested the initial national VA contract with HP in July 2012, causing the VA to order HP to halt work on the project. On Oct. 3, the GAO upheld that protest and asked the VA to reevaluate proposals received from vendors, which included HP, IBM and four other companies. The GAO also indicated that the VA might need to reopen competition to vendors.

The VA did reopen competition, according to Debbie Elgot, HP Enterprise Services' RTLS solutions portfolio manager for the U.S. public sector, resulting in HP again winning the contract. The second contract-selection process, Elgot says—which commenced in October—consisted of vendors resubmitting their proposals. "They asked us to clarify some questions," she says, but HP's proposal itself was unchanged from the first submission in 2012.

IBM could still opt to contest the VA's latest decision, says Ralph White, GAO's managing associate general counsel for procurement law. Richard Oliver, the attorney with McKenna Long & Aldridge who has been representing IBM regarding this matter, has declined to indicate whether IBM might opt to do so.

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