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Despite $500M Spent on Tech, UHIP Application is a 40-Page Paper Application

Thursday, April 05, 2018

 

UHIP 40-page application

Rhode Island’s UHIP program has cost more than $500 million. The majority on the investment of state and federal dollars is the technology developed by outside consultant Deloitte.

What is emerging as a failure of the entire system is the application. The application to receive services via UHIP is a convoluted, paper document that is 40-pages long.

SEE APPLICATION BELOW

That is correct — 40-pages and most applications are handwritten by the applicant.

Federally appointed Special Master Deming Sherman is overseeing the food stamp function of UHIP to ensure that it comes into compliance with federal requirements. That aspect of UHIP has been such a failure that federal court Judge Will Smith took the unusual step of placing Sherman as an overseer.

Sherman, dubbed a “Super Lawyer” by one of the national legal publications and a graduate of both Amherst College and the University of Chicago Law School — two of the most exclusive schools in America, says the application is fatally flawed. He said in an interview with GoLocal LIVE on Tuesday, “I defy you to fill out the application.”

It seems perplexing that the state is requiring those most in need and in distress — many undereducated — to fill out an application that one of the top lawyers in Rhode Island finds overly complex and unworkable.

Deloitte— the mega-firm with a checkered track record working with states on developing massive integrated healthcare infrastructures, including Rhode Island -- allowed the application to continue for nearly two years.

The application once completed then is sent to a scanning center in Warwick to be "read" and then be uploaded into the system.

Some state officials say the complexity of the application is required by federal requirements, but add that there is no indication that the state has sought a waiver or an exception.

Some food stamp applicants had to wait months for services

Only Now in Review

According to both the Department of Human Services and the office of Governor Gina Raimondo, the application is under review and the process of reforming the application will take months if not longer. Then, the new form will require federal approval.

How the application was ever considered to be effective no one could answer and why after nearly two years this application is only now being reviewed was unknown by state officials.

“Director Hawkins previously directed her team to simplify the paper application. The DHS team is working to cut the length by at least half. However, any change to the application will require federal approval,” said Josh Block, Press Secretary for Raimondo.

Sherman, a corporate attorney most of his career, said in the interview on GoLocal LIVE that the application should and could be in the ten-page range.

“The State continues to hold Deloitte accountable to delivering a fully compliant RI Bridges system. We are focused on ensuring it is the best technology it can be for Rhode Islanders, and we’re making progress in addressing its deficiencies. As we work to stabilize the system, Director Hawkins is in constant communication with Mr. Sherman,” said Ashley O’Shea, Communications Director for the Executive Office of Health & Human Services.

“Just last week, system improvements were made which greatly reduced the number of questions asked of online DHS applicants.  We will continue to work closely with our vendor, partners, and across our agencies, to further improve RI Bridges. The State continues to withhold payment from Deloitte until RI Bridges is fixed and meeting performance targets,” added O’Shea.

No one could give a firm answer as to how long it will take for the state to revise the form, federal agencies to approve the revisions and Deloitte to implement the changes.

UHIP launched in September 2016 after the state was warned by one federal agency that the system was deficient and should not be launched.

 

UHIP 40-Page Application - April, 2018

 

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