Target 12

RI extends Deloitte's UHIP contract through March 2019

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Deloitte, the vendor responsible for the troubled UHIP computer system, will continue to work on the half-billion-dollar project with Rhode Island through March 2019.

UHIP, short for the Unified Health Infrastructure Project, was supposed to streamline Rhode Islanders' benefits, including food stamps and Medicaid. But since its September 2016 launch, massive technical issues have delayed those benefits for tens of thousands of people.

The R.I. Executive Office of Health and Human Services confirmed Monday it is extending its contract with Deloitte into next year.

According to a letter from the federal government, the additional cost of the contract extension is $49.6 million, which covers UHIP maintenance and operations from October 2017 through next March. 

Another contract amendment, which covers software releases from the end of January 2017 through June 2018, will cost an additional $9 million.  

Gov. Gina Raimondo halted payments to Deloitte last February, and the company has credited tens of millions of dollars to the state. It's unclear how much money taxpayers will ultimately be responsible for covering.

In a statement to Eyewitness News, EOHHS secretary Eric Beane said, "The state continues to hold Deloitte accountable to fixing RI Bridges and is extending its contract with the vendor through March 2019." (RI Bridges is an alternative name for UHIP.)

"Planning continues for a long-term partner to run RI Bridges after March 2019. Deloitte, at its own expense, has committed to ensuring RI Bridges works and is the best technology it can be for Rhode Island," he added.

Raimondo told reporters last month that while Deloitte could try to continue running the system once its current contract expires, "I cannot imagine a scenario in which they could prove to us that they should continue our business."

"They're welcome to apply, and we will have an open, transparent process," she said. "But it is inconceivable to me that they could clear that hurdle."

At a R.I. House Oversight Committee hearing last week, Deloitte representatives apologized to Rhode Islanders for the problems UHIP has caused. They cited its complexity compared with other states' systems as one reason.

Meanwhile, federal agencies continue to express concerns about the state's lack of compliance with federal regulations.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent a letter on March 22 to EOHHS demanding answers to questions about topics including the budget, personnel, and vendors.

The letter also chastised Rhode Island officials for sloppiness, saying, "CMS is concerned that the number of misspellings, inconsistent references to years and other typographic errors in the update are indicative of a broader inattention to detail. Please ensure these issues are corrected in the resubmission."

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

Ted Nesi contributed to this report.


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