• GOP seeks federal Health Connect inquiry
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     | February 20,2014
     

    MONTPELIER — Republican leaders in the Legislature are seeking a federal investigation into Vermont Health Connect based on an anonymous tip that a state contractor duped state officials last year.

    House Minority Leader Don Turner of Milton and Senate Minority Leader Joe Benning of Caledonia County sent a letter Wednesday to Tristram Coffin, the U.S. attorney for the District of Vermont, requesting the investigation. The request is based on “whistleblower allegations alleging a fraudulent software demonstration on July 26, 2013 by CGI Technologies & Solutions.”

    Newsweek published an article earlier this month in which an anonymous source said a demonstration by CGI last July, designed to show connectivity between the state’s online insurance marketplace and a federal data hub, was faked.

    The exchange site, for which CGI has an $84 million contract to build, is still not fully functional, the GOP leaders wrote in their letter.

    “We believe the unexplained and extensive delay, coupled with evidence suggesting the company in charge of designing the system may have duped Vermont officials into incorrectly thinking that the software system was working and on schedule, constitutes sufficient legal and factual predicate to begin a federal investigation,” they wrote. “If true, such a fraud prevented state officials from performing proper contractual oversight, prevented corrective measures, and helped CGI retain its multi-million dollar contract with the state.”

    Mark Larson, commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access, has maintained that the July demonstration did feature a live connection with the federal data hub.

    Linda F. Odorisio, vice president of communications for CGI, said in an emailed statement Wednesday evening that the demonstration did connect the state site to the federal hub.

    “CGI confirms that the demonstration conducted on July 26, 2013 included a live interface to the Federal Data Services Hub, with the real time sending and receiving of data,” she wrote.

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