RI awards Deloitte $99 million contract to keep running UHIP

Politics

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s been a stormy relationship, but Rhode Island and Deloitte are staying together for now.

Gov. Dan McKee’s administration announced Monday that the state has awarded Deloitte a three-year contract worth $99.4 million to continue developing and managing the Unified Health Infrastructure Project (UHIP), the notoriously troubled computer system for social services that was a black mark for the administration of Gina Raimondo.

State officials said Deloitte was one of three companies that bid for the contract to run UHIP, now dubbed RIBridges, which serves as the software backbone for Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), HealthSource RI and other crucial programs.

The other companies that bid were not identified in a news release.

“We must continue to maintain this stable system and update it with new innovations and when, not if, there are changes to state and federal policies,” Celia Blue, interim director of the R.I. Department of Human Services, said in a statement. “This contract allows us to do just that.”

Launched in September 2016, UHIP suffered from massive cost overruns before launch and catastrophic failures afterward, leading Raimondo to apologize and causing the resignation of multiple officials. The system eventually stabilized after a lawsuit by the ACLU and a settlement with Deloitte that included a $50 million penalty.

UHIP’s cost totaled $682 million as of last July, with the federal government funding about 76% of that amount.

In a presentation to the Senate Oversight Committee last month, then-DHS Director Courtney Hawkins said the number of open tickets for system glitches had fallen from 7,557 in December 2017 to just 134 as of May. She also said the system allowed Rhode Island to be the first state in the country to distribute emergency Pandemic EBT benefits last year.

“As our state recovers from the pandemic, staying focused on a better Rhode Island for all – now and in the future – is our priority,” Blue said Monday. “The RIBridges system is a needed component to that mission, and helps deliver critical benefits, a lifeline, to nearly a third of our state’s residents.”

The new contract with Deloitte will run through June 2024, and has been approved by two key federal agencies, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the U.S. Food and Nutrition Service.

State taxpayers will cover $41 million of the $99 million contract, with the federal government funding the rest.

While state officials had initially planned to award Deloitte a five-year contract, they said McKee requested to have that scaled back to three years, with an option for renewals.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram

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