posted at 19:50
Author: Jordan Novet, Mark Sullivan
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 02:10:56 +0000
U.S. govt: Heres what went wrong with Healthcare.gov
Today's report levels several specific accusations at the CMS, including that the CMS did not clearly define the goals and expectations for the contractors that were hired to build the site. What's more, the GAO noted that the CMS used potentially risky "Cost-reimbursement contracts," which can be problematic because those contracts compel an agency to pay the contractor even if they don't deliver what it promises to deliver. The costs of building the website and data hub also spun out of control, according to the report. "The GAO said the CMS"took limited action" even after finding "significant contractor performance issues with CGI. Altogether, the report notes that IT-related "Obligations" for the project, including spending on software and hardware, came out to about $946 million from fiscal year 2010 until March 2014. The CMS allowed the contractors to use an "Agile" approach to developing its data hub and website, when the CMS had already admitted that it had little experience developing in that way, the report says. CMS used a "Cost-plus-fixed-fee" contract, wherein the government pays the contractor for expenses up to a certain amount, but the payments are not tied in any way to whether or not the contractor finished the job it was hired to do. The GAO recommends in the report that CMS "Take immediate actions to assess increasing contract costs and ensure that acquisition strategies are completed and oversight tools are used as required, among other actions."

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