A better title might be, “Rhode Island Tells Feds to Send All Fines Related to State’s Shitty Benefits Computer System to Deloitte.”
From the Associated Press:
The federal government is fining Rhode Island about $2 million for problems with the state’s benefits system.
WPRI-TV reports the problems stem from the botched rollout of a computer system for benefits programs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service found the state’s payment error rate was nearly 14% during fiscal year 2018.
In a letter late last month, the agency said most errors involved overpayments and ordered the state to pay $2 million.
The state plans to appeal. The state Department of Human Services says Deloitte, the company that designed the system, is responsible for paying the fine.
Yes, the Unified Health Infrastructure Project (UHIP) that Deloitte Consulting designed for Rhode Island has come back to bite the fourth-best consulting firm in the U.S. in the ass again.
UHIP, which was rolled out in September 2016, was supposed to streamline benefits, such as Medicaid, food stamps, and child-care assistance, for hundreds of thousands of Rhode Islanders. But it was launched without a backup—despite warnings that it wasn’t ready and without Deloitte piloting the system first.
You can probably guess what happened next.
UHIP was a complete disaster: residents reported missing benefits, hours-long call wait times to the state’s Department of Human Services, and long lines at DHS field offices, among other problems.
Nearly three years after it launched, UHIP still isn’t working the way Deloitte had intended. And because Deloitte gave them a piece of crap computer system, Rhode Island has not paid the firm since the failed rollout.
But in April, to the disbelief of many (including Deloitte, probably), Gov. Gina Raimondo extended the state’s contract with Deloitte for two years and agreed not to sue the firm because she didn’t want the state to be “tied up in expensive litigation for years.”
As part of that agreement, Deloitte agreed to pay $50 million to Rhode Island, assuming the two federal agencies that oversee and finance the state’s public-assistance programs give their approval. As of today, they have not.
And Deloitte won’t be allowed to include the potential $2 million fine in its $50 million payment to the state, Rhode Island DHS spokesperson David Levesque told the Providence Journal.
Levesque said Deloitte’s responsibility for paying any and all fines related to UHIP “is in addition to the $50 million payment negotiated as part of the recent contract.”