Judge sides with Florida Department of Health in contract dispute
May 8, 2012
The following article was published in The Florida Current on May 8, 2012:
Judge sides with Department of Health in Contract Dispute
By Travis Pillow
An administrative law judge is siding with the Florida Department of Health’s decision to reject all bids for a contract to provide laboratory services to the state’s 67 county health departments.
In a 33-page recommended order on Monday, F. Scott Boyd of the Division of Administrative Hearings wrote that Laboratory Corporation of America (aka LabCorp) had not met its burden to prove the department had acted improperly when it decided to reject all the bids and restart the procurement process after finding flaws in its solicitation.
The department had announced earlier this year that it would award the multimillion-dollar contract to LabCorp, which is also the current vendor. However, DOH decided to reject all the bids after another company, Quest Diagnostics, announced it would challenge the award.
The department aknowledged in a proposed order that it made “errors and omissions” in its invitation to bid and its answers to questions from Quest during the bidding process, as well as “deviations” from its standard procurement practice.
Fending off likely legal challenges from Quest would have been costly and may not have been successful, the department’s attorney wrote last month.
Boyd, the administrative law judge, wrote in his recommended order that putting the multimillion dollar contract back out to bid could harm LabCorp. But he added that the department still has the authority to reset the procurement process after finding flaws in its original invitation to bid.
DOH spokeswoman Ryan Wiggins said the department would decide when to solicit another round of bids once the litigation is fully resolved.
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