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“I am Sorry” Says Raimondo About Failed UHIP Rollout

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

 

Gina Raimondo

At a conciliatory press conference, Governor Gina Raimondo said that she is apologizing to Rhode Islanders and state employees for the failed system UHIP technology infrastructure and for the delay in action in correcting the problems.

Both the Raimondo and her top aide Eric Beane said repeatedly that the near $300 million technology is deeply flawed and it may take up to a year to correct it. “The system isn’t working” was one of the mantras of the press conference.

READ THE FULL REPORT BELOW

When repeatedly asked who is to blame, Raimondo said the both the Rhode Island’s Chief Technology Officer Thom Guertin and the contractor Deloitte repeatedly assured her that the system was ready to go. Raimondo said during the press conference that she asked, “Are you sure this is ready” and that each time she was assured that the technology was ready to go live.

As part of the press conference the Raimondo released a "complete and comprehensive analysis that details the challenges and missteps surrounding the launch of Rhode Island’s new health and human services eligibility software system."

"The challenges we've faced with UHIP have caused real, meaningful, and unacceptable hardship for many Rhode Islanders. If I had known in September what I know now, I would have never let this project go forward. What's clear now is that our vendor and our agencies needed more time, more people, and more training before we turned this system on. I'm holding Deloitte accountable for failing to deliver and have taken steps to fix the system as quickly as possible. The problems with the system are not intractable, and there is a path forward. Still, the system won't be fixed overnight, and we will continue to make steady, meaningful progress over the next 12 to 18 months,” said Raimondo. 

The Report 

The report was drafted by Beane and includes an action plan to improve customer service and fix the system. 

The plan includes important metrics to measure and monitor success for the short, medium, and long term. 

 

  • Short Term (within three months): The State will commit the staff and focus to stop the growing number of pending applications. Additionally, Deloitte will be held accountable to execute an aggressive IT turnaround to immediately improve functionality of the child care, long-term care, and worker portals. 
  • Medium Term (within six months): The State will hold Deloitte accountable to improve the customer experience and increase use of self-service enrollment for SNAP. Additionally, Deloitte must correct most of the remaining data conversion issues, which have caused hardship for customers and frustration for workers.
  • Long Term (within 12 months): Deloitte and the State will reduce the number of pending applications to a steady-state level. Additionally, Deloitte must ensure that all data conversion issues have been resolved and significantly reduce late and inaccurate payments.
     

 

Raimondo and Beane also announced measures to ensure there will be more accountability, more people, more outreach and more training to support the project in the future. 

More Accountability 

Next Steps

  • Continue to withhold payment from Deloitte. The State is currently withholding more than $30 million from the vendor.
  • Demand a new contract with Deloitte that will tie all payments to performance-based deliverables.
  •  Demand that Deloitte cover unanticipated costs to the State for additional personnel and other expenses incurred because of system errors.

 

More People 

Next Steps

  • DHS will recall some staff members who were laid off prior to go-live and hire additional, temporary staff to improve customer service and reduce the application backlog.
  • Governor Raimondo will put a new leadership team in place at EOHHS. On Tuesday, EOHHS Secretary Elizabeth Roberts submitted a letter of resignation, and the Governor has appointed Anya Rader Wallack as Acting Secretary of EOHHS while a search is conducted for a permanent head of the agency. Earlier this month, Tom Callahan joined EOHHS as Associate Director of Administrative Services, and Matt Stark was assigned to EOHHS to provide project management support for the UHIP turnaround. Jennifer Wood will no longer serve as EOHHS Deputy Secretary, but she will remain at EOHHS as general counsel. 

 

More Outreach 

Next Steps

  • Improve outreach to clients, staff, providers, and legislators across platforms.
  • Create a formal advisory process and designate key staff to interact with specific advocacy and social service organizations.
  • Accelerate process to provide overdue payments for long-term care and childcare.

 

More Training 

Next Steps

  • Demand comprehensive training plan for DHS employees, including focused training for supervisors and managers.
  • Create a formal process for collaborating with advocates to identify and fix technical and process issues through a monthly meeting of a "UHIP workgroup."

 

 

UHIP Timeline 

UHIP is Rhode Island’s first eligibility software upgrade in more than 30 years. 

The contract with Deloitte was signed and the project was started during the Chafee administration. 

In early 2015, Raimondo's administration delayed the launch by a year to provide Deloitte additional time to build the promised functionality and conduct sufficient testing. 

In June 2016, Raimondo's administration again delayed the launch by 60 days in response to calls from the federal government to run an enhanced pilot launch of the system. 

Before UHIP went live, Deloitte provided the administration with reports showing all major functions of the system as “green.” 

Based on that, the program was launched. 

 

 

UHIP Assessment Report to Governor Raimondo

 

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