Maryland Health Connection illustration

Analysis: State in no hurry to file suit over health exchange, faces disclosure of improper actions

State officials responsible for overseeing construction of the health exchange platform faced two frightful choices under the contract to produce the website in the months preceding the Oct. 1, 2013 ”go live” date:

Terminate Noridian, and fail to bring any health exchange platform to market; or
Keep Noridian on the job while violating major contract provisions designed to maintain equilibrium between payments to Noridian, and the quality and completeness of their work.

The state decided on the latter.

Auditors find continuing accounting issues at Maryland cities and towns

Some local governments in Maryland are having difficulty preparing adequate financial statements and getting passing grades from their outside auditors, state auditors found in an annual review of local audit practices for the fiscal year ending June 2013.

But the report found that the City of Baltimore’s financial statements are improving, and it also stated the overall financial condition of three cities, including Cumberland, is improving.

Silver Spring Transit Center aerial view (Photo by Bruce Lee)

Silver Spring Transit Center: Study finds many to blame for stalled, costly project

Serious safety, soundness, and durability problems that are now causing indefinite delays with opening the $112 million Silver Spring Transit Center (SSTC) were attributable to negligence, inadequate oversight and other shortcomings with project management, construction, and engineering.

In other words, none of the principal parties has “clean hands” according to a study released last week by the independent Office of Inspector General for Montgomery County.

Analysis: The Health Exchange Mess Part II: Assigning blame, recouping money

In the second installment examining Maryland’s disastrous health care exchange site launch, longtime auditor Charlie Hayward takes a walk through the status of audits and legal maneuvering to assign blame and recoup money. Auditors and lawyers will begin structured, even forensic work, to determine what went wrong and why Maryland’s exchange fared so much worse than those in other states. Hayward looks at the surprising scope and nature of damages of the failure and explains why both the state and its contractor Noridian bear responsibility. He predicts resolution could be complex, costly, and time consuming.

health exchange mess part I

Analysis: Health Exchange Mess Part I: Failures in leadership

In a two-part series Thursday and Friday, retired auditor Charles Hayward (full bio below) delves into the problems that led to a disastrous launch of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange in fall 2013. Among the chief failings of state leadership: not addressing serious red flags when there may have been enough time to fix the root causes; not appreciating the monumental tasks assigned to limited resources; and (3) not selecting one IT expert to take leadership on the website’s development.