A government audit published last week uncovered the extent of the mismanagement of the contracts used to develop healthcare.gov. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which is in charge of several federal health services, is shown to have insufficiently trained employees, have poorly kept records, and were unsuccessful in identifying problems. Faulty management led to the infamous website problems when Obamacare was released as well as a slew of other problems. The audit of the $600 million project focused on the website’s twenty most important contracts and was an eleven-month long investigation. The contracts were spread out amongst eight companies.
Many of the problems are associated with day to day negligence. In 2012, federal rules were established that stated federal employees managing contracts over $10 million had to complete 96 hours of training. In many cases this rule was ignored and large contracts were overseen by employees that were not properly certified. In some extreme cases, employees managed contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars even though they did not even meet the minimum certification that allows them to manage $25,000 contracts.
Another issue related to day to day operations was the high turnover rate of who was managing certain contracts. At times, no one documented who was in charge of certain contracts and tasks such as compiling monthly status reports and monitoring spending were left temporarily undone. The CMS has promised improvements and has already trained a large number of staff to oversee contracts. However, no accountability has been taken for the mismanagement of healthcare.gov contracts. With top leaders overseeing the website’s development gone, it appears no one is being held responsible.
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