State of Failure in Wisconsin

Wisconsin seems to be the land of IT project failures. Last April, the state released a report describing broad project failures running through the state government.

Wisconsin seems to be the land of IT project failures. Last April, the state released a report describing broad project failures running through the state government. As a response to so many IT failures, the Wisconsin state legislature formed a special task force to examine the problems.

Now, the Wisconsin State Journal reports additional failure on the state’s system for processing Medicaid health claims. EDS is the system integrator on the project. From the article:

Sen. Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay, a member of the Legislature’s audit committee, said delays on the Medicaid computer initiative might mean the project will cost more than estimated and the state may miss chances to hold down its spending to run the Medicaid program.

“If this system will help us shrink some of those costs and manage things better, we want to get it done as soon as possible,” Cowles said. “Not only would the system cost more money, but operations of the Medicaid system will probably cost more, so it’s a double hit on us.”

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The state’s Medicaid Management Information System is meant to track people receiving publicly funded Medicaid treatment, their doctors and hospitals, and their eligibility and claims. The project is meant to replace the current system, which processes 30 million claims a year for 51,000 health-care providers, and respond to changes in state and federal law, Marquis said.

The estimated cost to complete the system includes a projected $21.5 million to EDS and roughly $10.5 million in costs for state workers and resources, Marquis said. The federal government is covering 90 percent of the costs, and the state covers the rest.

Bill Ritz, a spokesman for EDS Corp. in Washington, D.C., referred questions about the project to the state.

EDS, a pioneer of computer outsourcing, is the market leader in handling Medicaid systems for states, holding contracts with 20 of the nearly three dozen states that outsource that work, Ritz said.

For a state that seems so open regarding it’s IT failures, there is surprisingly little information available about this current situation.

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