Federal investigators request UHIP docs

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Rhode Island U.S. attorney’s office has requested documents as part of an investigation into possible “false claims” or “false statements” tied to the problem-plagued Unified Health Infrastructure Project (UHIP) computer system.

Brenna McCabe, a spokeswoman for the R.I. Department of Administration, confirmed Monday night the R.I. Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Department of Administration both received so-called Civil Investigative Demands (CID) last month, shortly before Peter Neronha stepped down as U.S. attorney.

“Both agencies are working cooperatively with DOJ to provide the records that have been requested,” McCabe said, referring to the U.S. Department of Justice. She declined further comment. The records were due April 10.

The CIDs state, “The investigation concerns the allegation that false claims for payment for services and/or false statements in support of such payments have been submitted to the U.S. government.”

“These payments relate to services procured by the State of Rhode Island from Deloitte LLP and/or its subcontractors in connection with the establishment of health insurance exchange services under the Affordable Care Act as part of the Unified Health Infrastructure Project; these payments were funded in whole or in part by United States or its agencies,” they continue.

The $364-million UHIP system launched in two phases, first in the fall of 2013 for the HealthSource RI insurance marketplace and then last September for various other social-services systems. It immediately ran into serious problems, eventually forcing Gov. Gina Raimondo to apologize for the launch and promise a turnaround. The federal government is covering much of the system’s cost.

The request from investigators, first reported by The Providence Journal, sought documents dating back to the start of 2011.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com. He writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook