CMS mulls big expansion of online user access

Shutterstock image: medical professional interacting with a futuristic interface.

WHAT: A new enterprise identity management system for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

WHY: Between Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program and the Affordable Care Act, CMS plays a part in delivering health care to more than 100 million beneficiaries. CMS is expecting that increasingly these programs will connect with individuals online. Currently, the systems that support the 2010 health care law, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D (prescription drug benefits) and other CMS programs allow for some level of online access.  

Per a request for information dated Sept. 15, the agency is looking for new solution that will allow users to validate their identities and transact business with CMS systems. In particular, CMS wants a system that can validate a user's identity without the use of a Social Security number, which the ACA systems and the CMS Enterprise Portal currently require.

The RFI isn't looking to reach the entire 100 million-plus population of CMS beneficiaries. Instead, it is looking for a system to support 3 million to 6 million users. Still, this appears to be a big deal. If CMS is successful, they'll have a rough draft of a system that could allow for all CMS beneficiaries to open online accounts, and access benefit and other information via a single, secure login.

 CMS is open to a single solution or an "amalgam of integrated or connected solutions" to meet its requirements. The agency currently uses a commercial ID management system that has been configured and customized to work with agency systems. In the RFI, the agency identified "major issues with the current implementation, including limitations of the base [commercial] product for Identity Management (IDM) that EIDM is built upon," including an inability to scale efficiently during peak periods of registration or log-in, problems adding new features, problems generating metrics, an inability to work in a cloud or other virtual environments, and problems balancing loads between data centers.

Responses from vendors are due Oct. 30. Click here to read the full RFI.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Sep 15, 2015 at 9:22 AM


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