UHIP Assessment Report reveals system roll-out was premature
By: Rebecca Turco
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – It’s expected to take at least another year for the state’s new benefits system to be fully up-and-running glitch free, according to the UHIP Assessment Report made public Wednesday.
The report states the technology was not ready to go live when it did in September, which federal officials had said before the rollout.
The governor says she was led astray by UHIP’s vendor, Deloitte, and senior officials.
"Deloitte presented much too rosy of a picture to us, and I will say if I had known in September what I know today, I would not have let this system go live," she told reporters in a media briefing.
She apologized to those affected by the fallout, saying: "I want you to know that we're going to get this right and I am personally committed to working as hard as it takes and staying at it until this problem is fixed and you get the services that you deserve."
On Tuesday, Governor Raimondo accepted the resignation of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Elizabeth Roberts. She is the third high–ranking official to step down as a result of the controversy. The governor said she did not pressure Roberts to resign.
Acting Secretary Anya Wallack says she was contacted by the governor to fill-in a few days ago. "We have to get this right,” she said. “It matters too much to too many Rhode Islanders."
The governor also used Wednesday’s report to put Deloitte on notice by continuing to withhold payment, which at this point is more than $30-million. She also hopes to renegotiate the contract with payments tied to performance, and is ready to pursue legal action if necessary. "When you know how big the problem is, then you can start to solve it," Raimondo said.
Deloitte released a statement, saying: “We take seriously our commitment to the people of Rhode Island and deeply regret that the new system has caused frustration and hardship for some DHS clients, workers, and service providers.
“For the past five months, UHIP has successfully determined eligibility and paid benefits to more than 300,000 people each month, but we know that many others have had difficulty accessing benefits, processing cases and receiving timely payments. We are working around the clock to fix the system issues impacting UHIP’s effectiveness.
“We not only stand behind our work, we step up. We have invested significant resources into improving UHIP and helping the State to reduce its backlog.
“We have also brought in new project leadership and strengthened our team with additional technical skills and program experience. We will continue to enhance the team as needed and work collaboratively with the State to make things right.”