Health IT

IT Dashboard now rates HealthCare.gov as 'moderately high risk'

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Six months after the buggy launch of HealthCare.gov, the project has been rated "moderately high risk" by the CIO of the Department of Health and Human Services on the federal IT Dashboard.

Although the move might not seem timely, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have a number of key releases in the pipeline that have been delayed because of the scramble to make HealthCare.gov operational. Key among them are the financial management system that moves subsidy payments between the Treasury Department and insurance carriers and the planned migration of cloud-hosting services from Verizon Terremark to Hewlett-Packard.

In addition, IT projects designed to support certain features of the law have been delayed. For instance, the provision that requires small businesses to offer coverage has been extended to 2016. When HealthCare.gov was last evaluated, in July 2013, it was rated medium risk.

The IT Dashboard risk rating is done in part to notify oversight bodies and others of potential problems in government IT programs and to provide information for the TechStat oversight process that is used to examine and suggest fixes for troubled IT programs. However, it is not clear if HealthCare.gov is ripe for a TechStat session because the work is being led by a special adviser to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius -- Kurt DelBene, a former Microsoft executive.

The designation comes as CMS is concluding the initial open-enrollment period for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. After a disastrous launch period during which only a handful of individuals were able to obtain coverage, the government recently announced that 7.1 million had people signed up for coverage via the improved HealthCare.gov site, as well as by phone and in person.

Overall, the government approved around $688 million to $738 million in fiscal 2014 spending on IT related to the health care law. The discrepancy comes from a difference between figures reported by the Internal Revenue Service on the IT Dashboard and the Exhibit 53 document covering the same investments. The total is probably higher because there are more IT projects related to implementation of the health care law than are included in the CMS and IRS reports.

It is also important to note that there is no reliable estimate on how much of the approved funding was actually spent, but future Government Accountability Office reports are expected to provide a more accurate look at overall spending.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is FCW's senior staff writer, and covers Congress, health IT and governmentwide IT policy. Connect with him on Twitter: @thisismaz.

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Reader comments

Mon, Apr 7, 2014

This is so funny. The rush to roll it out meant the guts were not ready, especially the guts that actually controlled the flow of money from the Treasury to the insurance companies. This should be a lesson in extremely poor politics. When you want an answer real bad, you get a real bad answer. Remember the PUSH to get this out? And then the inevitable blame when it didn't go as the president wanted. What a poor manager he is. Injects politics into everything. Just give it a few years for the requirements to be stabilized, code up a prototype, test the crap out of it and then put out an initial release in a few years. What was the rush? Politics. The opposition might sink the whole thing. In other words the politicians on the other side who represent the majority of the country (the House) might sink it. so we must rush it. Well, that's called the will of the people which the president must yield to. But, no. Politics infected the whole Obamacare law from, "let's pass it to see what's in it", to a horrible rollout at great taxpayer expense. I know, I know, it's only (other people's) money. "Onward through the fog", should be the president's new battle cry. Lol!!

Mon, Apr 7, 2014 OccupyIT

Say, did you notice your horse has left the barn? No?

Mon, Apr 7, 2014

Now you have all this people with goverment insurance, if and when the Republicans win the Presidency, Congress or Senate are they really going to take the insurance away from people that are now getting it. How dumb would that be and very, very costly to the rest of us whom we are going to have to flip the bill again. That is the middle poor Americans whom for years have finance this country. The rich continue to find loop holes to line there pockets with riches and the rest of us continue to finance the country. When you vote for all this people you hav better think about what is going to happen to you and the rest of the people whom can not afford to go backwards again.

Sun, Apr 6, 2014 John Kim Los Angeles, CA

It's a good thing that Healthcare is making steady progress.

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