Monday, March 12, 2007

Breaking News from TSEU

Sources: announcement set for Tuesday, March 13

TSEU has received the word from several sources that Accenture and HHSC will jointly
announce on March 13 that the contract will be "unraveled", with each party "going its way."
The word is that Accenture is feeling pressure to do the job right including making the TIERS
system work and is balking at the cost.

Human Services might still not be on track

According to the sources, HHSC might put forward a plan to re-bid the contract rather than
concentrate on rebuilding the system we had, which actually worked until they started
dismantling it.

While this development goes a long way toward ending a wasteful and damaging boondoggle, it
does not by itself result in a restoration of quality human services eligibility. TSEU will continue
to call for implementation of our plan, which includes:

1. Terminate the Accenture contract.
2. Rebuild a functioning human services eligibility system.

A. Hire more staff: It would require less than 1000 additional positions to rebuild the staff
to the 2004 levels. Add these staff and re-evaluate staffing levels in 2009.

B. Rebuild a qualified staff:

1.) Create a program to bring skilled, tenured staff who have left back into the agency.
2.) Reverse the damage caused by the Job Search and Placement ( JSAP) program by
allowing all HHSC employees who accepted transfers under JSAP to return to their
original positions.
3.) Rebuild the training program for eligibility staff.
4.) Cancel the Convergys contract and rebuild effective human resources/personnel
services to support management and front-line staff.

C. Consider creative ways to enhance services. Ask front-line eligibility staff for ideas.

3. Integrate CHIP eligibility with children's Medicaid Eligibility in the state-operated
intake system.

HHSC already operates state-employee-staffed call centers in El Paso, Houston, Austin,
and San Antonio, and Dallas that do intake for Children's Medicaid. The CHIP and
Children's Medicaid programs are closely related: integrating eligibility would provide a
seamless, "one-stop" system in which a single qualified worker would directly enroll the
applicant in whichever program they are eligible for. This step would reduce costs and
increase accuracy and timeliness in providing these crucial services to Texas children.

4. Deploy a cost-effective, functional data system for human services eligibility.

A. Have a task force that is outside the HHSC structure and answerable to the Legislature
re-evaluate both the TIERS system and the SAVERR system to determine the systems'
present and potential functionality.

B. Move decisively on the findings of the study to either complete the development of
TIERS or cancel the project; to implement an upgrade of SAVERR , or to pursue a new

C. Suspend all input or conversion of cases into TIERS until the future of the system has
been decided and, if it is decided to keep TIERS, until the system is fully functional.

D. Seek and accept the input of front-line human services staff as part of all decision-making
and developmental steps to deploy a functional system.


Anonymous said...

State's contract with Accenture to be terminated
Lawmaker says state severing ties to private group.
By Corrie MacLaggan and W. Gardner Selby


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A senator's office says the Health and Human Services Commission is expected to announce today that the contract with a private group led by Accenture LLP will be terminated.

"It's being severed," said Don Forse, a spokesman for state Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville.

Several key House members confirmed the agency plans to announce today that the the contract will be terminated.

"It's disappointing that Accenture hasn't been able to perform," said state Rep. John Davis, R-Houston, a House budget writer who also is a member of the Human Services Committee.

"It's going to be an orderly process," Davis said of transferring the work away from Accenture. The Texas Access Alliance's handling of enrollment for programs such as food stamps and Medicaid has been problematic, with many Texans receiving benefits late. The deal, originally worth $899 million, was cut back to $543 million in December.

Neither the Health and Human Services Commission nor the Texas Access Alliance, a group of companies led by Accenture, immediately returned calls seeking comment.

Anonymous said...

Letter from the Commish:

I wanted to let you know that HHSC will be announcing later today that we will begin winding down our contract with the Texas Access Alliance and transition more direct management of CHIP operations and call centers to state staff.

In December, we announced a plan to retain some functions originally envisioned to be performed by the private sector and reduce the terms of the contract. As we worked to finalize the details of the December agreement, the state and contractor came to a mutual decision to end the contract early.

Two phases of the transition planning are running on parallel tracks. We are working with the contractor to wind down the contract by Nov. 1, and state staff are evaluating the best way to move forward with modernizing the eligibility system.

Our goal hasn’t changed. We want to make it easier for Texans to apply for services by modernizing technology and letting citizens choose how they want to submit an application – whether that’s in person or by phone, mail, fax or Internet. Ultimately, successfully implementation of these changes in our system will provide workload relief to our local offices.

Again, I appreciate all you do for the people of Texas. Your hard work does not go unnoticed, and I am grateful for your continued service to the many people who rely on our services.

Albert Hawkins