[Protest of Partial Air Force Rejection of Offer for General Dental Services]

B-232646: Jan 12, 1989

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A firm protested the Air Force's partial rejection of its bid for general dental services, contending that its use of dentists whose names other bidders previously submitted was not improper, since the substitute dentists had passed a credentials review. The Air Force contended that the protester untimely filed its protest more than 10 working days after it knew its basis for protest. GAO held that the: (1) protest was timely, since it was not clear when the protester first became aware of the basis for protest; (2) solicitation allowed the protester to substitute dentists if they passed the credentials review, and it did not prohibit such substitution even if other bidders originally proposed those dentists; and (3) protester was entitled to reimbursement for its protest preparation costs, including attorneys' fees. Accordingly, the protest was sustained, and GAO recommended that the Air Force award the protester contracts for the locations at which the protester offered qualified substitute dentists.