State & local special report: Safe bets for integrators

Outsourcing projects for eligibility determination of health and welfare services are hot draws for many of the major state and local players this year. In addition, market observers anticipate strong demand for traditional health and human services systems, as well as new areas of opportunity such as disease surveillance.

Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, a heavy hitter in health and human services, plans to retain its position as eligibility outsourcing opportunities arise.

Chief among the company's current projects is an integrated eligibility project in Michigan worth about $60 million. A workforce development project in Pennsylvania worth about $50 million also involves determining eligibility.

EDS Corp. also is chasing integrated eligibility opportunities and has implemented systems in California and Colorado. The company deployed the Colorado Benefits Management System last year through a $92 million contract and also finished implementing the CaliforniaWorks Information System (CalWIN), last fall through a $321 million contract.

A handful of contractors provide statewide automated child welfare information systems (SACWIS), to state governments. Both Deloitte and CGI play heavily in this area in which large deals are the norm, said Mike Keating, vice president for U.S. west and state and local government with CGI of Fairfax, Va., a unit of Montreal-based CGI Group Inc.

"The one major change [in the state and local market] is that there are a growing number of larger deals outside of the mammoth outsourcing deals," Keating said. The human services area has a number of substantial deals on the horizon, he said.

CGI won a $23 million SACWIS deal in Florida last year and is tracking various opportunities in California that total $50 million to $300 million.

In the months ahead, Deloitte will be looking for opportunities associated with providing health care to uninsured citizens, said Bob Campbell, vice chairman of Deloitte and national managing director of the company's U.S. public-sector practice.

State and local governments traditionally provide services to such people in a patchwork manner, he said, and states are trying to improve the situation.

"Governors are looking at comprehensive, integrated solutions to address the health care needs of uninsured people," Campbell said. For systems integrators, this translates into new opportunities to assist states with process and organizational changes as well as the creation and implementation of health information systems and databases.

EDS Corp., Deloitte and other integrators also are focusing on so-called disease surveillance opportunities. Those systems allow health officials to collect, integrate and analyze public health data quickly to identify outbreaks or potential threats to public health.

States are looking for help in addressing the overall health of citizens, said Barbara Anderson, EDS' vice president of state and local business.
States also want to lower the cost of care by using new tools and better data, Anderson said.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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