RI lawmaker calls for criminal probe of company behind UHIP

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Rhode Island lawmaker is calling for a criminal and civil investigation into the company behind the state’s troubled benefits eligibility system.

On Wednesday, Gov. Gina Raimondo admitted the state prematurely launched the United Health Infrastructure Project (UHIP).

The $364 million system built by Deloitte has been riddled with issues since it went live back in September.

Rep. Charlene Lima, D-Cranston, said she wants state police and the attorney general’s office to look into Deloitte, saying she believes fraud was committed.

“People are suffering greatly because of this unscrupulous company,” she said.

Deloitte has a track record of failures, according to Lima. In a letter to Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and State Police Col. Ann Assumpico, she cited articles from news outlets across the country who’ve reported on similar IT launches.

“You have a company selling their product, taking money for their product, and continually doing it knowing their product is defective and does not work,” said Lima. “To me, that’s fraud. That’s criminal.”

As Target 12 has reported, Raimondo is planning to renegotiate the state’s contract with Deloitte and is withholding all future payments to the company, demanding that it pay for costs the state incurs due to the numerous glitches.

The governor also said she has’t ruled out legal action. Lima said she believes the state should go after punitive damages.

“The punitive damages would have to be astronomical,” she added. “You’re talking about peoples’ lives that are being destroyed. People that were being hurt. Providers who are losing their business because they weren’t getting paid. That’s a lot of pain and suffering that this company caused in Rhode Island.”

When asked for comment, a spokesperson for Deloitte sent Target 12 a statement, saying in part:

“We take seriously our commitment to the people of Rhode Island and deeply regret that the new system has caused frustration and hardship for some DHS clients, workers, and service providers. We are working around the clock to fix the system issues.”

Kilmartin’s office and Rhode Island State Police have not said whether or not they’ll launch the investigation being called for by Lima.