The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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November 16, 2013

HealthCare.gov lead developer's hires bungled other jobs

(Continued)

Meanwhile, state auditors in Hawaii in 2010 partially faulted another CGI subsidiary, CGI Technologies and Solutions, for years of delay on a computer system for the state tax department. The project had been marred by slow response time and numerous system failures. That CGI company also grew out of AMS, which had been the original contractor on the project. CGI officials said the system enabled the state to collect hundreds of millions of dollars in delinquent taxes.

More recently, three of the new state health-care exchanges that CGI Technologies and Solutions helped develop — in Hawaii, Vermont and Colorado — have also encountered major glitches and delays. Asked about the problems, CGI officials said all three exchanges are now up and running.

Government contracting experts said it's not uncommon for IT vendors to run into software problems and cost overruns. But the experts added that the number of high-profile AMS projects that went awry before it was acquired, over such a relatively short period, was unusually high for a large and experienced company.

"These should all have been red flags for contract officers," said Daniel Gordon, who was in charge of government procurement policy earlier in the Obama administration and is now associate dean for government procurement studies at George Washington University Law School. Gordon was not involved in awarding the contract to CGI Federal.

Administration officials have faulted CGI Federal's performance on the health-care initiative. CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner, for instance, told a congressional committee that the firm sometimes missed deadlines. The government also grew frustrated with CGI Federal because the firm said on repeated occasions that features of the exchange were ready although they were not, several officials have said.

As the lead contractor for HealthCare.gov, CGI Federal was responsible for building the website for the health insurance exchange covering the 36 states that do not have their own exchange. Fifty-four other contractors worked on various parts of the federal exchange.

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