Deloitte scales back UHIP support staff at state offices

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Target 12 has learned the company hired to build Rhode Island’s troubled new benefits eligibility system, Deloitte, has cut back on its support staff at state offices even as the number of pending applications continues to grow.

Deloitte built the $364-million system, known as the Unified Health Infrastructure Project (UHIP), which has been riddled with issues since its September launch. There are more than 1,300 defects currently affecting the system, state documents show.

The documents also show the number of pending UHIP applications for benefits has now surpassed 21,000.

Brenna McCabe, a spokesperson for the R.I. Department of Administration, told Target 12 in an email that Deloitte provided “about 50” on-site support “resources” in December. She said that number dropped to “about 35” in January.

“I talked to Deloitte and they did make some changes to staffing,” Eric Beane, the acting DHS director, explained Wednesday. “But they actually said they’re increasing field staff in their offices to support the early days of the month.”

McCabe later clarified that Deloitte “has also enhanced its off-site team to provide further reinforcement to the state” even as it reduced the number of workers at state offices.

  • COMPLETE COVERAGE: UHIP

Beane said Deloitte periodically reassesses staffing needs, though he did not know specifically how many employees Deloitte has working both on-site and off-site on the UHIP project.

“Until the system is functioning as well as we hope and we can catch up with the backlog, we’re going to need Deloitte to provide a lot of support,” Beane said. “We’ll continue to raise concerns if we think staffing levels have fallen too much.”

Last month, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced she is withholding $15 million worth of payments to Deloitte pending a review of company’s work. So Target 12 asked Beane if Deloitte’s staffing changes are in response to the governor’s actions.

“I don’t want to speculate on that,” he replied. “You’ll have to ask Deloitte.”

Deloitte has not responded to Target 12’s questions.