Feds: Without New $91.1M Healthcare.gov Contract, 'Entire Healthcare Reform Program Is Jeopardized'
7:07 AM, Jan 17, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that Accenture Federal Services would be taking over for CGI Federal as the main contractor for Healthcare.gov. CMS documents reveal that without the new estimated $91.1 million contract, the government could end up making "erroneous payments to providers and insurers" and that "the entire healthcare reform program [will be] jeopardized."
Although a dozen companies were considered for the position, CMS only held meetings with the four companies that it determined could handle the work before awarding the estimated $91.1 million one-year contract to Accenture. Due to time constraints, competitive bids were not used; rather, CMS estimated the costs to be incurred, including up to $2 million in "travel costs" alone.
The Justification document, required for the no-bid contract, provides the most candid look yet at the fiasco that has marked the first several months of Healthcare.gov. In describing the need for the new contract, CMS says the following about the inadequate work of the previous contractor, apparently referring to CGI Federal, though the company is not named:
According to CMS, much of the work on Healthcare.gov needs to be completed by mid-March to avoid quite dire consequences, saying that "[i]f this functionality is not complete by mid-March 2014, the Government could make erroneous payments to providers and insurers" and that "the entire healthcare reform program is jeopardized by significantly increasing... risks." Those risks include:
Accenture has its work cut out for it with a laundry list of vital "core" functions that must be in place within two months, including the back-end "Financial Management Platform." That platform:
Accenture must also be able to "enhance existing FFM functionality that was limited in scope due to defect resolution" by providing:
The government intends the Accenture contract as an interim measure as it spends the next year soliciting competitive bids for a permanent contractor for Healthcare.gov.
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