Florida’s Statewide Medicaid Managed Care (“SMMC”) contracts are soon going to be re-bid. With approximately $70 billion on the line, competition for these new contracts will be fierce. While a timeline for the bidding process has not been announced, if the Agency for Health Care Administration (“AHCA”) follows the same timeline as it did for the prior bidding, we can expect an initial press release requesting non-binding letters of intent in September or October of this year, with the actual Invitation to Negotiate (“ITN”) being issued in April or May of 2022. Given the amount of money at issue on these bids and the expected amount of competition, if you are considering bidding on one or more of these contracts, now is the time to start preparing.
Further, given what is at stake, bid protests over the award (and the specifications) are almost a given. While our article on bid protests covers this issue in more detail and can be found here, there are a few key things you should know about bid protests if you are considering bidding on the SMMC contracts. The first issue is specification challenges. Specification challenges are challenges to the terms, conditions, or specifications contained in the solicitation (including any provisions governing the methods for ranking bids, awarding contracts, reserving rights for further negotiation, or modifying or amending any contract). If a potential bidder wished to make a specification challenge, a notice of protest must be filed within 72 hours after posting of the solicitation. Failure to timely file this notice of protest will result in waiving any challenges that the specifications were biased, unclear, or otherwise deficient. The second issue arises after an award (or intended award) is posted. Any eligible person who wishes to challenge the award (or intended award) must file a notice of protest within 72 hours of the posting. These timelines, like the other timelines discussed in the linked article, are strict deadlines and failure to meet them will likely result in a waiver of your right to protest.
With billions of dollars at stake on these SMMC contracts, you should be preparing your response to the ITN with a bid protest in mind – both to defend your award if you win and to place yourself in a good position to challenge if you are unsuccessful.
If you need assistance preparing your ITN response or if you are considering a bid protest to either the specifications or award of the new SMMC contracts, the experienced legal counsel at Smith & Associates can help. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your rights.