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Government IT

Accenture Faces Mid-March Healthcare.gov Deadline Or 'Disaster' 215

Posted by Soulskill
from the hope-you're-looking-forward-to-continued-drama dept.
PapayaSF writes "TheHill.com reports that Accenture has two months to fix HealthCare.gov by building a 'financial management platform that tracks eligibility and enrollment transactions, accounts for subsidy payments to insurance plans, "provides stable and predictable financial accounting and outlook for the entire program," and that integrates with existing CMS and IRS systems.' The procurement document, posted on a federal website, states that if this is not completed in time, there will be 'financial harm to the government' and 'the entire healthcare reform program is jeopardized.' Risk mitigation (which pays insurers who enroll a higher-than-expected number of sick patients) must be accurately forecast, or it might put 'the entire health insurance industry at risk.' Accenture will also have to fix the enrollment transmissions, which have been sending inaccurate and garbled data to insurance companies. Because the back-end cannot currently handle the federal subsidies, insurers will be paid estimated amounts as a stopgap measure. The document also said that officials realized in December that there was no time for a 'full and open competition process' before awarding Accenture the $91 million contract. What are their odds of success?"
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Accenture Faces Mid-March Healthcare.gov Deadline Or 'Disaster'

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  • by dbIII (701233) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @02:25AM (#46003629)
    It's Accenture. They write contracts DESIGNED to make a profit if they fuck up.
    I know the name change had reasons other than getting away from the bad reputation of Andersons, but it did have that side effect. If they have a front page for a week fuckup it won't kill them but I bet they'll change their name.
  • Close to 100% (Score:5, Interesting)

    by artor3 (1344997) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @02:26AM (#46003633)

    It'll be "good enough". Accenture built the California site, which works fine, and the insurers really want it to work, so they'll accept less than perfect.

    Of course, the summary is designed to make everyone say "THERE'S NO CHANCE!!" It's kind of insulting in its blatant demagogy, but I've come to expect that here.

  • Re:Close to 100% (Score:5, Interesting)

    by artor3 (1344997) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @03:37AM (#46003861)

    Two months isn't a real drop dead date. They'd certainly like it to be done by then, but it's not like everything gonna go down in flames if the insurers only get estimated payments, with adjustments coming in a couple quarters.

  • Besides the jokes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hcs_$reboot (1536101) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @05:14AM (#46004111)
    Accenture (and the like) image in IT departments (technical side) is often illustrated thanks to some jokes, like the famous Why did the chicken cross the road? [math.kth.se]. While the IT department usually delivers practical and tangible services, these "consulting companies" made their way up to the management. The management, IT illiterate, is always keen on overpaying some comforting but useless lengthy overpriced reports from such a consulting company, stacked later on at the bottom of a cabinet, having a sticky note inserted on page 3/1000, page where the reader gave-up reading. Useless reports aimed at influencing high level decisions at the management level, that may not have a direct or lethal impact on IT productivity. Besides the heavy cost embedded in the management budget, usually no one really cares. The problem arises when a big entity, IT illiterate, does not have a solid IT structure yet, and assigns full responsibility to such a "consulting company" to manage a new IT service, from A to Z.
  • Re:Two months? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 19, 2014 @05:21AM (#46004127)

    Accenture isn't a technology consultancy they are a management/operational excellence company, they farm technology work out to Avanade. This has no chance of being a complete success, but Avanade is decent.

  • Re:Open source (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gumbercules!! (1158841) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @05:22AM (#46004133)
    I would assume the simply tendered out the process and got a bunch of quotes (tender responses) from companies on the government preferred supplier list. Any companies not assumed "big enough" were discounted out of hand. Then they would have had 2 or 3 left over (because at the very start of the process, they would have decided to immediately short list down to 2 or 3 people at most because bigger numbers than that is too hard to comprehend) and had some presentations from them about their success stories and then asked themselves "who was the cheapest?" and "who have I heard of before?".

    That's how it works here in Australia, anyway.
  • by jonbryce (703250) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @05:43AM (#46004193) Homepage

    Andersen Consulting split off from Arthur Andersen a few years before the Enron scandal.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 19, 2014 @06:54AM (#46004369)

    Good at management? Ok here is a story from Norway, I won't name names but I personally know the lead developers of the project. Accenture was hired by DNB to work on a pension system, worth "billions". The application was utter crap, atleast the lead developer said so. So one day DNB (which had employees in Accentures offices due to the project) came and had some change requests – Accenture's management estimated it would require 2000 man hours to complete the task (pulled a random number out of their frickin' management ass). At the same time DNB's person in Accenture's offices had contacted the lead developer and asked him about this change also. He fixed the issue even before Accenture's management had the opportunity to talk with him, 8 hours spent.

    Accenture is nothing but a fuckin' scam, good at snake oil talk – officials working with this company is probably very very incompetent or even worse corrupt.

  • by DexterIsADog (2954149) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @09:21AM (#46004727)
    Why is everyone responding couching this in terms of a binary success/failure? I have worked in the health insurance industry for 20 years, through lots of business, state regulation and federal regulation clusterfuck deadlines, and the typical pattern is;

    Note that a deadline is approaching in a year or so
    Meet occasionally to marvel at how complex the change will be until 6 months before the deadline
    Assign a team to do the work with 4 months to go
    Have an "oh shit! ALL HANDS ON DECK!" come-to-Jesus meeting two months before the deadline where the CEO kicks some rhetorical ass
    The team works like hell to implement what they can
    Mid-level managers identify the *least* required functionality to avoid firing/contract penalties/lawsuit and/or prosecution
    Deliver *something* that technically meets the requirements
    Get an "attaboy" from the CEO on the heroic work done by everyone involved

    I'm not even being sarcastic. This is how it works. ICD-10 ring any bells?

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