New IT manager takes on troubled UHIP system

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Ken Brindamour has his work cut out for him as he seeks to turn around Rhode Island’s $364 million benefits eligibility system, which has been riddled with issues since it was launched last year.

For the next six months, Brindamour will serve as the IT project manager for the Unified Health Infrastructure Project – otherwise known as UHIP.

The system went live back in September and has since been plagued with technical problems, outages, and delays in people receiving their benefits.

Brindamour was a senior vice president at Atrion, Inc., an IT services firm based in Warwick.

Gov. Gina Raimondo said she believes he has the right experience to fix the troubled system.

“We needed somebody experienced and we needed somebody to hit the ground running,” she said Tuesday. “He’s already started work and we needed somebody we could trust and he came highly recommended to us.”

Target 12 obtained a copy of Brindamour’s contract, which says he’s “responsible for developing a technical diagnosis and turnaround plan within 30 days.”

Brindamour will be paid $192,000 for six months of work, according to the contract, which can be extended if need be.

“It was a standard contract that the state uses for all of its consultants of this kind,” Raimondo added.

Earlier this month, Raimondo accepted the resignations of Department of Health and Human Services Director Melba Depena and the state’s Chief Digital Officer Thom Guertin, who was overseeing the implementation of UHIP.

“The priority now, of course, is to get this thing back on track and we have confidence he’ll be able to help us do that,” Raimondo said of Brindamour.

The governor reassigned her administration’s chief operating officer, Eric Beane, to take over as acting director of the DHS.

Both Depena and Guertin stayed on to assure a smooth transition to the new leadership. A spokesperson for the Department of Administration said Depena will work through the end of the month while Guertin’s final day on the job is expected to be March 3.