Tech company that designed Vt. health care site let go



The Obama administration has decided not to renew its contract with CGI, the Canadian tech giant that built Vermont’s troubled health care exchange website, and one of the many contractors working on, the federal exchange site.

CGI’s federal contract is up in February, and the Washington Post reported last week, that its $90 million contract will go to the tech firm Accenture, citing an anonymous source familiar with the negotiations.

The Post confirmed through a CGI spokeswoman that the company’s work on the federal exchange is coming to an end, but, as the spokeswoman pointed out, CGI still holds $37 million in contracts with the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services signed during the past few months.

Vermont is continuing to use CGI for the time being, according to Mark Larson, commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access. In a statement he said: "Our focus right now is on continuing to make improvements to Vermont Health Connect to ensure it meets Vermonters’ needs. We have been extremely frustrated with the slow pace of those improvements. We continuously evaluate the progress we’re making and options that we have."

Vermont chose CGI to build the Vermont Health Connect website after the company was recommended by CMS officials who suggested the state use a company other states, such as Hawaii and Colorado, had already vetted, instead of conducting its own search.

The decision was made in order to meet federal application deadlines to build state-run exchanges, according to memos released with Vermont’s CGI contracts.

Larson said during testimony before lawmakers last week that the most recent figures he had seen showed Vermont has paid CGI $18 million. The $84 million contract with the state extends through the first two years of the exchange site’s operation and maintenance. After that it could go back out for bid, Larson said.

His department is working to recoup money from CGI associated with damages because of the botched rollout -- compensation for specific breaches written into a contract -- and to ensure the state only pays for completed work, Larson said.

Damages for the missed deadlines totaled $26.5 million, according to a letter from Larson, but the maximum penalty the state can impose is $5.1 million.

Separate negotiations with CGI for an estimated $100 million contract to revamp the Agency of Human Services’ ACCESS program - the computer system used by most AHS departments - recently fell apart, VTDigger reported in December.


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