Illinois rejects Cerner's protest of EHR contract

Illinois rejected a protest filed by Cerner over the Chicago-based University of Illinois Health's $62 million contract awarded to Epic, according to The News-Gazette.

In December, Cerner filed a protest with Illinois' chief procurement office for higher education over a contract awarded to Epic for the EHR overhaul at the hospital, alleging the bidding process was unfair and tainted by a possible conflict of interest. Cerner claimed its bid was $1.5 million lower than Epic's and included all implementation costs while Epic's didn't. The company also claimed it did not have an opportunity to present its EHR, an opportunity UI afforded to Epic.

However, in a Jan. 12 ruling, the state denied Cerner's protest, citing that the company didn't submit a proposal demonstrating its technical qualifications at the minimum required level, Chief Procurement Officer Ben Bagby wrote.

UI further said it awarded Epic the contract through a request for proposals, not a competitive bidding process. That means proposals were evaluated on their technical capabilities first, then pricing. Cerner failed to meet UI's threshold in order to be considered for a presentation, UI added, according to The News-Gazette.

Mr. Bagby agreed, noting Epic met UI's pricepoint and that the hospital only asked for costs related to software implementation — not additional aspects of the project. He added that Cerner didn't provide evidence of a conflict of interest, "just speculation."

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