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Raimondo’s UHIP “Decisiveness” Four Months Too Late - Leaders Blame Gov & Roberts

Friday, January 13, 2017

 

Governor Raimondo

Governor Gina Raimondo announced on Thursday that she took “decisive action” nearly four months following the botched UHIP rollout, by accepting the resignations of two high level staffers, and withholding millions in payments to vendor Deloitte.

Critics of UHIP, which has adversely impacted thousands and is the subject of an ACLU lawsuit, were not impressed however by Raimondo’s assertion that action was taken quickly or effectively — and questioned the ousting of Melba DePena and Thom Guertin, while keeping Secretary of Health and Human Services, Elizabeth Roberts.

“After four long months, the issue is not firing two people who weren't the real decision makers,” said House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan. “The issue is why the top leaders chose to launch a woefully incomplete system to begin with. Those leaders knew it was not ready. "

“This is Governor Raimondo's total failure of leadership and the height of her arrogance,” said Republican Party Chair Brandon Bell. “She ignored warnings about launching from the federal government, she fired approximately 40 people prematurely and she hired political people who had no business running the Department of Human Services."

Among those who criticized Raimondo on Thursday was Nicholas Oliver with the Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care, who has seen significant ramifications result from the UHIP problems. 

“Removing DHS Director DePena and Chief Digital Officer Guertin does not resolve provider reimbursement delays, nor resolves the current access to healthcare barriers caused by this UHIP implementation failure. I was underwhelmed by the Governor’s remarks today,” said Oliver.

Calling for Responsible Parties

The bulk of the criticism however focused on why Rhode Island moved forward despite warning from the federal government — and who should be held responsible for doing so. 

“Decisive action would have been to ‘just say no’ to the ludicrous idea of ignoring the federal government’s warnings against going live with the new UHIP system and turning off the old system before ensuring the new one worked properly,” said Pam Gencarella with taxpayer advocacy group OSTPA. “Can firing two people be considered ‘decisive action’ when that does nothing to fix the problem? There is no silver bullet that will help the failed project."

Representative Anthony Giarrusso, who was a vocal critic during the Assembly’s UHIP hearings, raised his concerns. 

Elizabeth Roberts

“From an optics standpoint, something had to be done, because of how badly it went and how many people were negatively affected,” said Giarrusso.  “My biggest concern is someone made a decision to not listen to the Feds — to not make the change to UHIP -- and is that person one of the people who resigned?”

Former Director of Administration Gary Sasse pointed to Roberts, whose involvement in the development of the program dates back to the Chafee administration. 

“Taking action to hold staff accountable for the botched UHIP was long overdue - better late than never,” said Sasse. “However, it is not clear who was ultimately responsible to the Governor and General Assembly for UHIP implementation. Thus, I am surprised that the Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services was not held publicly accountable.”

Cautious Optimism, Continued Opposition 

Some in the Governor’s Democratic Party — including Representative Patricia Serpa, who spearheaded the hearings into the problems in the fall, offered cautious optimism regarding the changes. 

"It is a step in the right direction and I am cautiously optimistic the Governor's comprehensive plan over the next 30 days will begin to turn things around,” said Serpa. “The House Oversight Committee will continue to hold public hearings and I am laser-focused on the final outcome because Rhode Islanders have been suffering for too long." 

Opponents, however, remained staunch in their view of the program, in light of other recent problems at the state level. 

"To maintain public confidence in government, it is appropriate to hold public officials and vendors accountable for their failures, as the governor did today. None of this, however, justifies $80 million in state funds and hundreds of millions of federal funds to create a computer system that is designed to expand reliance on and enrollment in public assistance programs,” said Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity CEO Mike Stenhouse.

“Given the increasing number of failed government boondoggles, from 38 Studios, to the DMV computer system, many others, and now UHIP, maybe we should finally realize that the state is incapable of taking care of our every need,” he added. 

 

Related Slideshow: RI Leaders’ Questions for October 20 Hearing on “Botched” UHIP Rollout

RI Leaders' Questions for October 20 Hearing on "Botched" UHIP Rollout

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#5

From House Finance Chair, Representative Marvin Abney and House Oversight Chair, Representative Patricia Serpa

A description of what the key milestones were for testing including what the acceptable failure rate would have been.

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#9

From House Finance Chair, Representative Marvin Abney and House Oversight Chair, Representative Patricia Serpa:

A detailed list of every type of error that Bridges has incurred that impacted a beneficiary or a provider. How many of each type has occurred?

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#26

From RI GOP Chairman, Brandon Bell:

Did EOHSS conduct a risk-analysis of how the rollout might impact some of RI’s most vulnerable people?

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#25

From RI GOP Chairman, Brandon Bell:

When were the Governor and Speaker aware of detailed federal reports that spelled out real-life problems for thousands of citizens dependent on public assistance?

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#32

From House Finance Committee Member, Representative Patricia Morgan:

The state has received penalties and fines for poor performance in entitlement programs in the past — what jeopardy does this faulty roll-out subject our state’s taxpayers to?

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#35

From House Finance Committee Member, Representative Patricia Morgan:

What training was given to make sure they knew how to perform the necessary task within the next system? Who was in charge of training the staff?

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#1

From House Finance Chair, Representative Marvin Abney and House Oversight Chair, Representative Patricia Serpa:

All independent verification and validation reports (IV&V) for the project, especially any provided to the administration or DHS within the last year.

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#2

From House Finance Chair, Representative Marvin Abney and House Oversight Chair, Representative Patricia Serpa:

Any correspondence from Deloitte that addresses the readiness — or lack of readiness — of the system to go live in July then in September.  This should include all discussions of the outstanding problems.

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#3

From House Finance Chair, Representative Marvin Abney and House Oversight Chair, Representative Patricia Serpa:

Numbers that demonstrate by DHS field office, how many clients submitted applications, how many were initiated, how many were completed - prior to the switch to Bridges and then for the month it’s been operating. This data should be provided by day, week, and month for July, August, September, and October.

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#4

From House Finance Chair, Representative Marvin Abney and House Oversight Chair, Representative Patricia Serpa:

Results of the UAT (User Acceptance Testing) testing for Bridges — I would like to know how many times they conducted testing and, at a minimum, the score cards if not the scenarios they used to test it.

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#6

From House Finance Chair, Representative Marvin Abney and House Oversight Chair, Representative Patricia Serpa:

A list of the different programs incorporate (SNAP/TANT/etc) and their current error rate.

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#7

From House Finance Chair, Representative Marvin Abney and House Oversight Chair, Representative Patricia Serpa:

A description of how Deloitte staffers are being used in field offices to support DHS staff as well as a description of how they are being paid (e.g. overtime).

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#8

From House Finance Chair, Representative Marvin Abney and House Oversight Chair, Representative Patricia Serpa:

Precise numbers on how many existing clients didn’t receive any benefits, how many received some but now they were entitle to, and how many received incorrect payments.

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#10

From House Finance Chair, Representative Marvin Abney and House Oversight Chair, Representative Patricia Serpa:

How many providers (day care centers, mental health centers, etc) did not receive payments when they were accustomed to receiving them after Bridges went live?

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#11

From House Finance Chair, Representative Marvin Abney and House Oversight Chair, Representative Patricia Serpa:

Reports generated by HealthSource for the last 6 months on errors and problems and then the most current report that details the problems to see how HealthSource is being impacted by UHIP Phase 2, also called Bridges.

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#12

From House Finance Chair, Representative Marvin Abney and House Oversight Chair, Representative Patricia Serpa:

A description of what the testing scenario the feds recommend, a description of the testing scenario used and an explanation as to why we varied from the one the feds recommended.

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#13

From House Finance Chair, Representative Marvin Abney and House Oversight Chair, Representative Patricia Serpa:

Feasibility study regarding child support being integrated into UHIP.

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#14

From House Finance Chair, Representative Marvin Abney and House Oversight Chair, Representative Patricia Serpa

The latest IAPD that was submitted by OHHS/DHS.

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#15

From House Finance Chair, Representative Marvin Abney and House Oversight Chair, Representative Patricia Serpa:

Data from the dashboard that shows information regarding number of transactions completed, number pending some action, error rate, etc. in the system.

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#16

From House Finance Chair, Representative Marvin Abney and House Oversight Chair, Representative Patricia Serpa:

The most current report used by Deloitte that lists the “glitches” that need to be addressed and fixed.

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#17

From House Finance Chair, Representative Marvin Abney and House Oversight Chair, Representative Patricia Serpa

The average wait times for clients at each DHS office.

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#18

From House Finance Chair, Representative Marvin Abney and House Oversight Chair, Representative Patricia Serpa

The average number of times clients have had to come in to DHS problems since October 1.

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#19

From House Finance Chair, Representative Marvin Abney and House Oversight Chair, Representative Patricia Serpa:

The number of open tickets Deloitte has right now for Bridges. This should include software bugs as well as tickets with requests to fix data.

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#20

From House Finance Chair, Representative Marvin Abney and House Oversight Chair, Representative Patricia Serpa:

How many Deloitte tickets have been issued since October 1 requiring Deloitte to address a specific data issue or application issue for a specific client? How many of these are outstanding right now?

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#21

From RI GOP Chairman, Brandon Bell:

Who bears the responsibility for the UHIP budget sky-rocketing out of control?  The initial estimate set the UHIP cost at $135 million prior to the Chafee Administration adjusting the budget to $209 million, these projections are a long way from the report reported cost of $364 million.

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#22

From RI GOP Chairman, Brandon Bell:

As the UHIP budget ballooned, what process was employed and who authorized change orders and contract revisions?

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#23

From RI GOP Chairman, Brandon Bell:

What due diligence did the State undertake in awarding the UHIP contract to Deloitte — was there a competitive bidding process, and if not why?

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#24

From RI GOP Chairman, Brandon Bell:

Why didn’t the Governor follow a prudent approach of directing EOHHS to conduct pilot tests and implement UHIP in appropriate phases? 

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#27

From RI GOP Chairman, Brandon Bell:

What should the General Assembly do to more effectively conduct oversight so problems can be identified before they become financial snafus?

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#28

From RI GOP Chairman, Brandon Bell:

What and when did the Governor know about budget overruns and the botched UHIP rollout, and what corrective action did she underage and who is she holding responsible?

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#29

From RI GOP Chairman, Brandon Bell:

What value-added benefit will RI taxpayers receive from the $364 million investment in UHIP? 

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#30

From House Finance Committee Member, Representative Patricia Morgan:

Who made the decision to launch the program over the objection of the NFS?

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#31

From House Finance Committee Member, Representative Patricia Morgan:

It appears a full pilot wasn’t performed — what was the rationale, the evidence the program was ready?

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#33

From House Finance Committee Member, Representative Patricia Morgan:

How many citizens have been negatively impacted by the flawed rollout — what costs have they incurred (leaving work and school, or having to pay out of pocket)?

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#34

From House Finance Committee Member, Representative Patricia Morgan:

What costs have RI taxpayers incurred in overtime, extra personnel costs, etc?  Will they be picked up by Deloitte?

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#36

From House Finance Committee Member, Representative Patricia Morgan:

Are there hardware as well as software issues?

 
 

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