Raimondo: Deloitte will give taxpayers $27M credit for UHIP mess

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — After months of dealing with problems associated with the Unified Health Infrastructure Project (UHIP), Gov. Gina Raimondo’s office announced Thursday it’s secured a $27-million credit from the system’s developer.

Since it launched in September, the $364-million benefits eligibility system has been plagued with issues, from delays in people receiving benefits to glitches exposing users’ personal information.

Raimondo apologized in February for the problematic rollout, saying her administration made a mistake by launching UHIP prematurely, and promised to hold accountable Deloitte, the company hired to build the system.

The eight-figure credit from Deloitte is not a final settlement of all their disputes over UHIP, according to Raimondo’s office, which said both sides retain the right to take legal action over the matter if necessary.

“I’d like to be able to resolve this without litigation,” Raimondo told reporters Thursday. “But if I have to go to court to get what Rhode Islanders deserve, then I will do that.”

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The credit is intended to cover the cost of the extra workers hired at the Department of Human Services (DHS) to address its backlog of pending applications, as well as all contracted services for the remainder of the fiscal year and the first quarter of fiscal year 2017-18, the governor’s office said.

“I told Deloitte, you know, they gave us a system that didn’t work – the taxpayers shouldn’t pay for it. They need to pay for it,” Raimondo said. “And to their credit, they stepped up and they’ve offered this.”

“It’s a good thing for them to do. I appreciate it,” she said. “We have to stay at work until we give Rhode Islanders the system they paid for.”

In a statement, Deloitte spokesman Jonathan Gandal said: “As an organization that is deeply committed to our clients and our communities, we not only stand behind our work – we step up. This agreement is another sign of our good faith and our ongoing commitment to the state of Rhode Island, its people, and the long-term success of the UHIP project.”

Raimondo’s office said Wednesday night that the UHIP backlog currently stands at 10,579 benefit applications, down from 13,630 in March. Acting DHS Director Eric Beane said significant progress has been made in recent weeks, due in part to an increased commitment from Deloitte, including 130 additional workers.

“The credit from Deloitte will allow us to move forward together and focus solely on fixing the critical outstanding issues,” Beane said in a statement. “We will continue to hold ourselves and our vendor accountable.”

The state had paid roughly $200 million to Deloitte for UHIP before Raimondo stopped payment to the company earlier this year. Officials said the credit will reduce the amount the state still owes Deloitte from about $68 million to about $41 million.

The House Oversight Committee is expected to discuss the progress being made with UHIP at its meeting Thursday.

Last week, the Rhode Island U.S. attorney’s office requested documents as part of an investigation into possible “false claims” or “false statements” tied to UHIP. Raimondo has said the investigation is centered on Deloitte, not the state.