Healthcare.gov contract comes to end for CGI
I guess the polite thing to say is that CGI Federal and Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services have decided to go their separate ways over the Healthcare.gov website.
The impolite thing to say is that CGI got fired.
Linda Odorisio, a spokeswoman for CGI, said the decision was mutual “to complete work on CGI’s contract for the Federally Facilitated Marketplace, in line with the previously scheduled February 2014 contract end date.
So, the contract ends in February with no options exercised. In this market, that’s not usually a happy ending, so this is a black mark on CGI's reputation.
The Washington Post is reporting that government has hired Accenture to take over CGI’s role.
Whether you call it a firing, the move by the government is the right thing to do. I’m not joining the chorus of CGI-naysayers; there is plenty of blame to go around for the problems with the federal health insurance exchange. Time will tell how much blame gets laid at CGI’s feet.
But Healthcare.gov has become such a political liability and such a hot potato that a firing really is the best way for the Obama Administration to move on. CGI will probably continue to be a scapegoat, with government officials pointing to them and saying, "We’ve moved on. We’re moving forward."
The fact that the government didn’t terminate CGI a couple months ago indicates to me that the problems with Healthcare.gov go beyond alleged poor performance by a contractor.
But even if time finds that most of the blame lies with CGI, that doesn’t translate into them being an incompetent contractor.
As one executive told me, “Show me a company that doesn’t have failed projects, and I’ll show you a company that isn’t taking risks and isn’t trying to innovate.”
For the record, this executive doesn’t work for CGI, and has worked both inside and outside government.
CGI takes a proud, positive stance in its statement about the end of the contract.
The “decision comes at a time when Healthcare.gov is performing well, due largely to CGI’s key role during the ‘tech surge,’” Odorisio said.
The company has had more than 400 employees working around the clock since October “to deliver a consumer experience that works for a vast majority of Americans.”
In the same statement, Odorisio says that the company has won nearly $37 million in contracts with CMS since October.
For its part, Accenture is being relatively quiet. Company spokeswoman Joanne Veto said it wasn’t “appropriate to discuss new business opportunities we may or may not be pursuing.”
Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jan 10, 2014 at 9:23 AM