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Optum gets more exchange repair work

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Managers of the state-based Massachusetts Health Connector have hired Optum/Quality Software Services Inc. to help make their state’s public health insurance exchange work better.

The Massachusetts exchange board agreed to pay Optum about $10 million for consulting work over the next month.

Optum is a unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc.

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that oversees the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act exchange program, has hired Optum to help fix problems at the enrollment system for the HHS-run exchanges.

State-based exchanges that have already brought Optum in to help with their systems include Minnesota’s MNsure and Maryland’s Maryland Health Connection.

Massachusetts already had an exchange in place before President Obama signed PPACA into law, but it has had trouble getting its systems operating well enough to enroll many consumers or provide complete data for HHS exchange enrollment reports.

Consultants at The MITRE Corp. told CMS that the Massachusetts Health Connector enrollment system has been working poorly because the site builders did a poor job of managing the project.

“There is no clear indication who maintains the technical blueprints,” the consultants wrote in the report.

The Massachusetts exchange board included the report in a meeting document packet.

CGI, the company that put the Massachusetts exchange systems together, did a poor job of creating, communicating and enforcing information process standards, the consultants wrote.

Project managers used seven to nine Microsoft Project files to oversee the project schedule, and the managers seem to have failed to combine the files into one master schedule, the consultants wrote.

“In most cases,” the consultants wrote, “two separate documents show different dates for the same event.”

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