Governor Gina M. Raimondo took action Thursday to address challenges related to the rollout of the state’s new health and human services eligibility computer system, announcing the resignations of Human Services (DHS) Director Melba Depeña Affigne and Chief Digital Officer Thom Guertin, who has been responsible for overseeing the technical implementation and design of the system.
Governor Raimondo also announced that she will withhold nearly $15 million in payments to United Healthcare Infrastructure Project (UHIP) vendor Deloitte while the state completes an assessment of the vendor’s performance and the stability of the new computer system.
“Rhode Islanders deserve a system that they can be confident in. I’ve been patient; but I am as frustrated with the rollout as anybody, and I’ve reached the end of my rope,” Governor Raimondo said. “We are making changes in our leadership team so we can do a better job holding our vendor and our departments accountable. Rhode Islanders won’t pay a penny more to Deloitte until we complete an assessment of their contract and I’m satisfied they’re in compliance with the terms. Once it’s operating properly, this system will improve customer service and save taxpayer money.”
Raimondo Administration Chief Operating Officer Eric Beane has been assigned to serve as Acting DHS Director to diagnose the challenges related to the UHIP system and its rollout and develop a plan and timeline for resolution. Chief Information Officer Chris Antonellis has been appointed Acting Director of the state’s information technology division. Both Depeña and Guertin will temporarily remain in their respective departments to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership.
In September, the state launched the new health and human services eligibility portal to comply with federal requirements to upgrade the state’s technology. The UHIP system, launched at a cost of $80 million to the state, replaced a legacy computer system in use since the Reagan administration.
Raimondo has already taken several actions to address technical and customer services challenges that have occurred since UHIP’s launch, including expanding hours at field offices and demanding additional staff from Deloitte at no cost to the state.