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Major UHIP software upgrade delayed again

Target 12
Line at Providence DHS office_372570

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A major software upgrade for Rhode Island’s troubled UHIP computer system that was scheduled for this weekend has been delayed again. 

Ashley O’Shea, a spokesperson for the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, said the upgrade planned for June 23 will not happen. She did not provide a new release date. 

“Our leadership team is not satisfied with the results of testing and Deloitte has not received permission from the state to deploy the upgrade on that date,” O’Shea told Target 12 in an email, referring to the company that built the system.

“We will not allow for that release until we are confident the upgrade will not compromise system performance or access to benefits,” she said.

UHIP – short for the Unified Health Infrastructure Project – is Rhode Island’s problem-plauged computer system that was supposed to streamline benefits programs like Medicaid, food stamps and child care assistance. State officials have been struggling to fix it since it launched in September 2016.

The software upgrade was originally scheduled for May 19, but was delayed for additional testing. As Target 12 first reported Monday, the state set June 23 as the new target date for the upgrade, but special master Deming Sherman cautioned that the updated software “depends on successful testing.” 

A judge appointed Sherman to oversee the state’s SNAP program in the wake of a federal class action lawsuit brought by the ACLU, which accuses the state of illegal delays of food stamp benefits caused by the system.

Sherman set a goal of having the state in compliance with federal SNAP regulations by the end of June. The regulations require 96% timeliness for the issuance of SNAP benefits. 

In a report to the court, Sherman conceded that the goal may be unattainable. But the state is touting improvements. 

“We continue to make progress – including achieving 92.6% SNAP timeliness in May – without this upgrade,” O’Shea said. 

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.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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