Sunday, June 18, 2006

Time To End FSSA Privatization Effort

The Star's Tim Evans takes another hard look at the two groups of private vendors vying to take over welfare program administration from FSSA--the agency charged with administering the programs. Once again, the state rolls snake eyes if it chooses either group. Evans' writes:

Two companies that are vying to help manage welfare claims for 1 million Hoosiers have faced complaints elsewhere, including long hold times on the phone, gross overpayments and denial of aid to qualified applicants.

At least one state, Texas, has suspended plans to take a pilot welfare program statewide with one of the companies, Accenture. The other company, ACS, also has faced complaints and once employed Mitch Roob, who now leads Indiana's Family and Social Services Administration.

The grievances about the two companies represent only a fraction of the work they do around the world. But they add to the fears of skeptics who say the state should re-examine its $1 billion proposal to privatize the distribution of aid to Indiana's poor, elderly and disabled.

Evans shares with Star readers the complete team comprising each of the two bidders. The so-called "IBM Group", which is the team FSSA Secretary Mitch Roob's former employer ACS is a part also includes, Arbor, Alpha Rae Personnel, CGI AMS, Crowe, Haverstick, Phoenix Data Corp., Public Consulting Group and RCR Technology Corp. This list provides yet another connection to Roob. His brother Matt formerly worked for Crowe in its Indianapolis office. Carmel-based Haverstick is the company partially owned and run by disgraced Conseco CEO Stephen Hilbert (Note: Haverstick's company website was down at the time this post first linked to it).

The so-called "Accenture Group" includes The Consultants Consortium, EDS, Crew Technology Services, Technology Partnership Group, DeLoitte Consulting, Professional Data Dimensions, Brijent and Borschoff, Johnson Matthews. EDS has held the contract to manage the state's Medicaid claims for more than a decade. Crew Technology Services is primarily a local IT staffing company with absolutely no experience with welfare services. Professional Data Dimensions is locally-based and is principally-owned by its co-founder, Wayne Patrick. His firm is a go-to firm locally whenever a larger company wants to include a politically-connected minority-owned firm in the mix.

ACS and Accenture are the lead partners for each respective group which will assume the greatest responsibility for administering the $1 billion privatization deal. And given their track record to date, there is no reason the state should believe either is capable of doing a better job than a well-managed state agency could perform these critical services. When your only choice it to choose between the lesser of two evils, it's time to cancel the bid and focus on improving the agency's performance.

No comments: