- CMS did not always adequately manage contracted employees hired to help oversee HealthCare.gov, according to a new report from HHS’s Office of Inspector General.
- The federal watchdog reviewed 20 of 62 CMS contracts -- spanning eight companies totaling $605 million -- related to the development, implementation and operation of the federal insurance marketplace.
- The audit found because of CMS management errors, contractor delays and issues were not always identified, unauthorized costs were incurred raising a contract’s costs and deliverables and management decisions were not properly documented.
In the wake of HealthCare.gov’s less-than-fortunate launch, HHS’s OIG reveals some of the contract mismanagement and drills down into the overall question “What happened on that fateful day in October 2013?” The OIG report shows what seems to be poor record management, inadequate training and failure to look ahead on the part of CMS.
For example, in 2012, the agency disregarded federal rules requiring employees reviewing contracts worth more than $10 million to meet 96 training hours. According to the audit, CMS expects all employees handling such affairs to meet the certification requirements by October 2106.
Recommendations to CMS included:
- Direct contracting officers and representatives to comply with federal regulations and contract terms;
- Direct acquisition personnel not to authorize additional work on contracts until approved by appropriate personnel;
- Require all acquisition personnel to disclose their past-employments relationships;
- Maintain adequately documented contractor files related to performance and CMS contract management; and
- Provide appropriate training for contracting officer’s representatives.
CMS concurred with the report’s recommendations.