posted on September 29, 2010 08:34
A few years ago the Department of Health and Human Services set out to reform mental care and wrecked it.
Next it set out to reform in-home care for Medicaid patients and wrecked it.
And, now, it’s got another – $265 million dollar – train wreck on its hands.
Back before he was Secretary, Lanier Cansler was a blue chip lobbyist for a Computer Sciences Corporation which was out to land the state’s biggest contract. The way Cansler and the folks at ‘CSC’ told it their new system – for processing Medicaid claims – was going to be fantastic and wonderful and would save the state millions, so when the bids came in the state dumped the old vendor and switched horses.
But the new computer system hasn’t turned out to be so fantastic and wonderful. In fact it hasn’t turned out to be anything at all. Because it doesn’t work.
So CSC has asked the state for another year to straighten out the mess, which sounds a lot like déjà vu all over again because four years ago Cansler’s Department had exactly the same problem.
Back in 2005 they hired ACS Corporation to put together a mammoth new computer system to process Medicaid claims. About a year later ACS was over budget and getting nowhere and the whole thing fell apart costing taxpayers a bundle.
After that the state turned to CSC and now that’s falling apart too. Think about it a moment: This is a $265 million contract. It’s big, serious business. So how does the state miscalculate (by a year) how long it will take to write the computer program? It’s almost like Cansler’s Department gets a proposal, sniffs it, says, Hey, this one smells good, and hits the go button.
Anyhow, now, Cansler’s former client’s in the soup, that state’s in the soup, and Cansler’s got his PR machine cranking out press statements saying the price of the $265 million contract isn’t going up (even if it is a year late) and if you believe that would you like to buy a piece of the Brooklyn Bridge? A battalion of state bureaucrats will now be working on this project for another year – isn’t that a cost increase?