The U.S. Veterans Affairs Department received five bids from companies seeking to run a proposed open-source software development project to manage and upgrade the VA's VistA electronic health-record system, according to documents provided by the VA pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request.
VA releases limited details about open-source VistA bids
The Informatics Applications Group, a privately held, for-profit company based in Reston, Va., was named in June as the winning bidder, with a bid of $4,998,951.
The company, also known as Tiag, has worked previously with the Defense Department as a management consultant for the Office of the Surgeon General, the U.S. Army Medical Command and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The technical portion of its winning bid to become the VA's "custodial agent" on the VistA open-source project was deemed "outstanding," according to a table of "evaluation factors" the VA released in correspondence with Tiag and the four other bidders.
The other bidders and their rankings on the technical portions of the bids are as follows: Medsphere Systems Corp., Carlsbad, Calif., acceptable; Carahsoft Corp., Reston, Va., unacceptable; Logistics Management Institute, McLean, Va., acceptable; Unatek, Largo, Md., unacceptable. Most additional details of the VA's ratings of the four losing bidders, including information on price and the respective bids' strengths and weaknesses, were blacked out in the VA's correspondence.
Modern Healthcare filed a formal FOIA request with the VA in June to obtain copies of all of the competing proposals and correspondence related to the open-source custodial-agent contract after being denied access to those documents in a request to the VA's public affairs office. Access to the competing proposals was denied by the VA's FOIA officer.
The VistA system, used in 153 VA hospitals and more than 700 clinics, is the product of more than 30 years of development work and billions of dollars in expenditure of public funds. Copies of the bulk of the VistA software code are available under FOIA.
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