People

Julie Boughn: Parsing the IT budget puzzle

illustration dollar sign in vise

Few IT budgets are larger — or more important — than the one Julie Boughn helps oversee at the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Boughn is deputy director of the Center for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program Services, which is charged with using its massive IT budget — $2.4 billion in fiscal 2013 — to ensure that states have the funds to cover Medicaid costs.

It is the HHS budget’s largest IT line item, and Boughn is essentially the final approval for how those funds are spent. As budgets tighten at the federal and state levels alike and as Medicaid’s importance grows with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, problem-solving on the part of Boughn’s team has a direct impact on states’ ability to provide Medicaid services.

puzzle logo

A look at little-known agency experts who are pushing critical broad-based initiatives, plus other leaders whose influence bears watching.

But those kinds of challenges are what drew Boughn to IT in the first place. She said her Aha! moment came when she wrote an economics program on an Atari 800XL while a student at the University of Maryland. She used IT to make her college life easier and then went on to use IT to make parts of the government work better.

"I really enjoy the puzzle aspect," she said. "Some of these problems do not have an obvious path forward. You have to figure out what the destination is, how you get there, and whether laying it out this way or that way leads to the best outcome. I was never interested in IT because it was IT, but I was interested in it because of the efficiencies it allows."

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group