The Shumlin administration is seeking a vendor to oversee future maintenance and operations for a suite of health information technology projects, including Vermont Health Connect.
The Department of Buildings and General Services issued a request for proposals Feb. 26. The state is seeking bids by March 31 for a contract that would start July 1 and run for up to two years.
The selected vendor would maintain the Health Services Enterprise Platform, according to the bid request. That includes Vermont Health Connect (the state’s health insurance exchange), integrated eligibility (an online application system for state benefits), and the core component of the Medicaid management information system, or MMIS (a billing system).
The request for proposals says that “currently, support includes only one application (Vermont Health Connect) at this time.” Whoever is chosen during the bidding process “will work with the state and the state’s outgoing (maintenance and operations) vendor” to ensure a smooth transition.
Administration Secretary Justin Johnson said in an interview Tuesday there has been no recent change in the administration’s IT strategy. But he said he wants the state to “go through a full procurement” wherever possible, instead of relying on sole-source contracts.
The current vendor for maintenance and operations on Vermont Health Connect is a company called OptumInsight Inc. The company has two separate contracts with the state. In mid-January one of its contracts was extended until April 1 and the total dollar value raised to $80.6 million. The earlier agreement, beginning June 9, 2014, had been for $76.2 million of work ending Jan. 15.
Last week, the Shumlin administration announced it would delay implementation of MMIS core and spend the next 18 months focusing only on the foundational components of integrated eligibility. Gov. Peter Shumlin said in a news conference Thursday that the changes did not affect Vermont Health Connect.
Shumlin said Thursday the exchange was “going well” but still has problems. “Optum has their A-team up here right now, and I continue to have a lot of faith in the fact that Vermont was smart to build their own exchange,” he said. “These exchanges have been tough for every state and for President Obama.”