Health Care

Company working on Vermont Health Connect portal closes down

A subcontractor that worked on a Vermont Health Connect portal as recently as last week is going out of business, according to the administration of Gov. Peter Shumlin.

Exeter Group, Inc., a firm that worked as a subcontractor for CGI Technology Systems in 2014, is closing its doors and laying off workers, according to Lawrence Miller, the chief of health care reform for the Shumlin administration.

CGI was the company charged with setting up the federal exchange, HealthCare.gov, and Vermont Health Connect. Shumlin and president Barack Obama both fired the company; OptumInsight Inc. is now the main contractor on Vermont Health Connect.

Exeter had several contracts, including one worth $4.2 million, with CGI and the state to deliver a front-end piece of the exchange called OneGate that goes between the customer and the website’s database and helps determine a person’s eligibility for health programs.

Vermont was Exeter’s only remaining customer. Vermont was planning to use the OneGate technology for both Vermont Health Connect and an integrated eligibility project across the entire Agency of Human Services.

In a September 2014 review from when Optum took over Vermont Health Connect, the company wrote that there were “architectural issues” with the OneGate software that would make it difficult to scale the software to use to determine public assistance eligibility as part of the upcoming integrated eligibility IT project.

“They contacted us to let us know they were going to be suspending or winding up operations and conveyed the source code to us,” Miller said. “We are working with our other vendors to help place critical staff so we can continue to manage support for the system.”

He said the state received the final piece of OneGate software Oct. 30, and now the state’s responsibility will be to maintain the code. He said Vermont has a perpetual license to use the software and won’t pay any more licensing fees to Exeter.

CGI an Exeter bid together to build the original version of Vermont Health Connect, according to Miller. The OneGate software was meant to be off-the-shelf, meaning other states could use it simply, but the company didn’t get enough customers and ended up shutting down, he said.

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Erin Mansfield

About Erin

Erin Mansfield covers health care and business for VTDigger. From 2013 to 2015, she wrote for the Rutland Herald and Times Argus. Erin holds a B.A. in Economics and Spanish from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she also attended journalism school. Erin has worked in public and private schools across Vermont and interned in the U.S. Senate. She has been published by the Columbia Journalism Review and the Society of Professional Journalists. She grew up in Killington.

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