CIO-SP4 protesters may finally see payments for their troubles OlekStock

An exact timeframe for when the companies will get their long-awaited reimbursements is uncertain, even as those payments are in motion.

Industry-wide complaints about slow payments from the National Institutes of Health's IT acquisition organization may be nearing resolution.

NIH's IT Acquisition and Assessment Center has informed companies who successfully protested the CIO-SP4 contract vehicle in 2023 that it is processing payment requests.

Last summer, the Government Accountability Office ruled in favor of the protesters and directed NITAAC to reimburse the companies for their costs that include attorney fees.

In its new notice to the protesters, NITAAC has also asked them submit invoices to start the payment process.

GAO's decisions involved 90 companies and came out in June and July of 2023.

In August 2023, NITAAC negotiated a lower reimbursement amount and many thought that would speed up the payment process. But delays continued.

Fast forward to June of this year, NITAAC officials said they made some payments but acknowledged the slow process. NITAAC cited budget constraints and the continuing resolution as factors.

A NITAAC spokesperson emphasized their commitment to paying the companies.

Companies have complained for months about the delays. MicroTech has filed a protest with GAO seeking reimbursement. A decision on that case is expected in August.

Besides approaching GAO, protesters could also take NITAAC to court for breach of contract.

NITAAC's new notice likely prevents further actions. But if payments continue to lag, companies might still pursue legal or GAO remedies.

In its notice to protesters, NITAAC requests basic information such as DUNS numbers, unique entity identifier numbers (UEI), and banking details for electronic transfers.

The memo does not specify a timeframe for payment completion.

The end of all the struggles for CIO-SP4 is still not in sight. Several protests remain live at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.