B-161425, MAY 19, 1967

B-161425: May 19, 1967

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

TO ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS AFFAIRS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 2. IT IS PROPOSED THAT THE CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT FOR THE HOSPITAL INCLUDE THE COST OF PROCURING AND INSTALLING THE "CYBERAIL" TRANSPORT SYSTEM. YOUR LETTER INCLUDES A DESCRIPTION OF THE STRUCTURAL DESIGN AND PHYSICAL LAYOUT OF THE PLANNED HOSPITAL WHICH IS CHARACTERIZED AS A NEW CONCEPT OF HOSPITAL CONSTRUCTION WHICH IS UNIQUE AND INNOVATIVE "TO PROVIDE FOR A HIGH DEGREE OF ADAPTABILITY TO ACCOMMODATE THE CONSTANTLY CHANGING PATTERNS OF MEDICAL CARE.'. YOU STATE THAT IT IS ESSENTIAL TO HAVE A FAST AND DEPENDABLE HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM FOR DELIVERY OF NECESSARY FOOD AND MEDICAL SUPPLIES BETWEEN THE PATIENT CARE AREAS AND THE SUPPLY.

B-161425, MAY 19, 1967

TO ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS AFFAIRS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 2, 1967, AND ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO WHETHER THIS OFFICE OBJECTS TO THE PROCEDURE PROPOSED TO BE FOLLOWED IN PROCURING AND INSTALLING A TRANSPORT SYSTEM IN THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL AT SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA. IT IS PROPOSED THAT THE CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT FOR THE HOSPITAL INCLUDE THE COST OF PROCURING AND INSTALLING THE "CYBERAIL" TRANSPORT SYSTEM, AND THAT THE PURCHASE PRICE OF THE TRANSPORT SYSTEM TO BE INCLUDED IN THE BIDDING DOCUMENTS BE OBTAINED BY YOUR AGENCY'S NEGOTIATING A CONTRACT WITH THE MANUFACTURER, WILMOT CASTLE COMPANY, PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY OF 41 U.S.C. 252 (C) (10).

YOUR LETTER INCLUDES A DESCRIPTION OF THE STRUCTURAL DESIGN AND PHYSICAL LAYOUT OF THE PLANNED HOSPITAL WHICH IS CHARACTERIZED AS A NEW CONCEPT OF HOSPITAL CONSTRUCTION WHICH IS UNIQUE AND INNOVATIVE "TO PROVIDE FOR A HIGH DEGREE OF ADAPTABILITY TO ACCOMMODATE THE CONSTANTLY CHANGING PATTERNS OF MEDICAL CARE.' FOR THE INNOVATIONAL PLAN TO BE SUCCESSFUL, YOU STATE THAT IT IS ESSENTIAL TO HAVE A FAST AND DEPENDABLE HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM FOR DELIVERY OF NECESSARY FOOD AND MEDICAL SUPPLIES BETWEEN THE PATIENT CARE AREAS AND THE SUPPLY, DIETETIC, PHARMACEUTICAL, CLINICAL, LABORATORY AND OTHER SUPPORTIVE AREAS LOCATED THROUGHOUT THE BUILDING. IN ADDITION, YOU STATE THAT IT MUST BE A SYSTEM WHICH PRECLUDES CROSS INFECTION, IS HIGHLY AUTOMATED, CONTINUOUS AND SMOOTHLY OPERATING, AND IS SUFFICIENTLY DEVELOPED AND PROVEN FOR INCLUSION IN THE BUILDING DESIGN WHICH IS NOW IN PREPARATION.

IT IS YOUR POSITION, AFTER A THOROUGH INVESTIGATION, THAT ONLY THE "CYBERAIL" SYSTEM MEETS ALL OF THE ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENTS DESCRIBED ABOVE. IN SUPPORT OF THIS POSITION, YOU HAVE GIVEN THE FOLLOWING DESCRIPTION OF THE SYSTEM:

"* * * THE SYSTEM IS UNIQUE IN ITS USE OF A SPECIAL HORIZONTAL OVERHEAD AND VERTICAL CONTINUOUS LOOP MONORAIL TRACK, INCORPORATING AN ELECTRICAL POWER SOURCE UPON WHICH TRAVEL THE SELF-PROPELLED TRANSPORTERS FROM WHICH ARE SUSPENDED LARGE DETACHABLE, CLOSED, SEALABLE CONTAINERS. THE TRANSPORTERS CARRY THE CONTAINERS RAPIDLY, SMOOTHLY AND CONTINUOUSLY WITH A MINIMUM OF NOISE WHILE MAINTAINING THEM IN AN UPRIGHT POSITION AT ALL TIMES, FROM INPUT STATIONS TO ELECTRONICALLY DESIGNATED OUTPUT STATIONS WHERE THE CONTAINERS ARE AUTOMATICALLY EJECTED ONTO HOLDING PLACES FOR UNLOADING.

"BY THE USE OF THE CONTINUOUS LOOP MONORAIL THE "CYBERAIL" ELIMINATES THE NEED FOR SEPARATE SYSTEMS OF HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL CONVEYORS AS USED BY OTHER TRANSPORT SYSTEMS. IN SO DOING THE "CYBERAIL" SYSTEM PROVIDES QUICKER, SMOOTHER SERVICE AND ELIMINATES THE EXTRA COST FOR DUMBWAITERS AND OTHER VERTICAL CONVEYORS. THE CAPACITY OF THE "CYBERAIL" CONTAINERS (21 CUBIC FEET EACH) IS APPROXIMATELY FIVE TIMES THE VOLUME OF THE "TOTE" BOXES FURNISHED BY OTHER MORE CONVENTIONAL TRANSPORT SYSTEMS AND DUE TO THEIR LARGE SIZE AND THE SMOOTH, STABLE OPERATION OF THE TRANSPORTERS, ARE MUCH LESS SUSCEPTIBLE TO SPILLAGE. A FURTHER ADVANTAGE OF THE SIZE OF THE ,CYBERAIL" CONTAINERS IS THAT THEY PERMIT THE TRANSPORT OF MEDICAL AND OTHER SUPPLIES, FOOD, SOILED LINEN AND TRASH INTERCHANGEABLY WHICH THE SMALL SIZED BOXES CANNOT DO. IN PROVIDING TRANSPORTATION FOR LAUNDRY AND TRASH, THE "CYBERAIL" ELIMINATES THE NEED FOR CONSTRUCTION OF LAUNDRY CHUTES AND TRASH CHUTES THEREBY ELIMINATING THEIR COST FROM THE COST OF THE BUILDING CONSTRUCTION. ALSO, SINCE THE "CYBERAIL" CONTAINERS ARE LARGE AND EFFICIENT ENOUGH TO CARRY BULKY MEDICAL RECORD FILES, THE PNEUMATIC TUBE SYSTEM CAN BE REDUCED IN SIZE AND IN ITS EXTENT AT AN APPRECIABLE SAVING IN COST.

"IN ORDER TO PREVENT CROSS INFECTION, BEFORE THE "CYBERAIL" CONTAINERS ARE USED FOR TRANSPORTING FOOD, MEDICAL SUPPLIES, CLEAN LINEN AND OTHER CLEAN MATERIALS, THEY ARE TRANSPORTED TO A CONTAINER WASH STATION WHERE THEY ARE REMOVED FROM THE TRANSPORTER, INSPECTED AND CLEANED, AND THEN ARE WASHED DOWN, SENT THROUGH A DECONTAMINATION CYCLE AND DRIED. THE SIZE AND TYPE OF THESE CONTAINERS AS WELL AS THEIR METHOD OF TRANSPORT LENDS THEM TO THIS TREATMENT MORE READILY THAN THE SMALL BOXES AND LARGE CART TYPE CONTAINERS WHICH ARE USED BY THE OTHER AVAILABLE TRANSPORT SYSTEMS WHICH DO NOT PROVIDE THIS TREATMENT.

"THE "CYBERAIL" HAS FEWER PARTS THAN OTHER CONVENTIONAL TRANSPORT SYSTEMS AND HAS NO GREASY CHAINS OR CABLES WHICH REQUIRE LUBRICATION. THEREFORE, THE SYSTEM IS EASIER TO MAINTAIN AND KEEP SANITARY THROUGHOUT ITS ENTIRE LENGTH AND IN ALL OF ITS COMPONENT PARTS THAN OTHER TRANSPORT SYSTEMS OF WHICH WE HAVE KNOWLEDGE. IT IS ESPECIALLY ADAPTABLE TO COMPUTER PROGRAMMED DELIVERIES BECAUSE OF THE UNINTERRUPTED NATURE OF ITS OPERATION. THE "CYBERAIL" SYSTEM IS IN SATISFACTORY OPERATION IN A HOSPITAL SYSTEM IN EUROPE. IT IS REPORTED ALSO THAT IT CURRENTLY IS UNDER STUDY FOR USE IN OTHER HOSPITALS IN THIS COUNTRY. HENCE, ITS DESIGN IS AVAILABLE FOR ADAPTATION IMMEDIATELY TO THE SAN DIEGO VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL.'

TITLE III, SECTION 302 (C) (10) OF THE FEDERAL PROPERTY AND ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, 41 U.S.C. 252 (C) (10), PROVIDES THAT CONTRACTS MAY BE NEGOTIATED WITHOUT ADVERTISING IF FOR PROPERTY OR SERVICES FOR WHICH IT IS IMPRACTICABLE TO SECURE COMPETITION. THE HOUSE REPORT ON H.R. 4754, WHICH BECAME THE FEDERAL PROPERTY AND ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES ACT OF 1949, STATES THAT THE ABOVE SECTION SHOULD BE CONSTRUED LIBERALLY AND PLACES UPON THE AGENCY CONCERNED THE MAXIMUM RESPONSIBILITY FOR DECISIONS AS TO WHEN IT IS IMPRACTICABLE TO SECURE COMPETITION.

IMPLEMENTING THE ABOVE STATUTORY AUTHORITY, PART 1-3 OF THE FEDERAL PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS (FPR) PRESCRIBES POLICIES AND PROCEDURES WHICH MUST BE OBSERVED BY EXECUTIVE AGENCIES IN CONNECTION WITH PROCUREMENT BY NEGOTIATION. WITH REGARD TO JUSTIFICATION FOR NEGOTIATION, PARAGRAPH 1 3.210 (2) SETS FORTH CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH THE AUTHORITY TO NEGOTIATE MAY BE USED. FOR EXAMPLE, UNDER SUBPARAGRAPH (1) NEGOTIATION IS PERMITTED WHEN THE PROPERTY OR SERVICES CAN BE OBTAINED FROM ONLY ONE PERSON OR FIRM (SOLE SOURCE OF SUPPLY) AND UNDER SUBPARAGRAPH (13) NEGOTIATION IS PERMITTED WHEN IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DRAFT, FOR AN INVITATION FOR BIDS, ADEQUATE SPECIFICATIONS OR ANY OTHER ADEQUATELY DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE REQUIRED PROPERTY OR SERVICES.

IN VIEW OF THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY CITED, AS IMPLEMENTED BY THE ABOVE REGULATIONS, AND THE CIRCUMSTANCES REPORTED IN YOUR LETTER, OUR OFFICE WILL NOT OBJECT TO THE PROPOSED NEGOTIATIONS WITH WILMOT CASTLE COMPANY SO LONG AS THEY ARE CONDUCTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE NEGOTIATION PROCEDURES PRESCRIBED BY PART 1-3 OF THE FEDERAL PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS.