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Serpa Cautious, Optimistic on Raimondo’s UHIP Shakeup

Representative Patricia A. Serpa.
Representative Patricia A. Serpa.

Editor’s note: The following information was provided by the Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau.

STATE HOUSE — In the wake of a massive shakeup by the governor in the Department of Human Services, Rep. Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) says she will continue to monitor the progress of the problem-riddled Unified Health Infrastructure Project.

On Thursday, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced the resignations of Human Services (DHS) Director Melba Depeña Affigne and Chief Digital Officer Thom Guertin, who has been responsible for overseeing the technical implementation and design of the system.

Governor Raimondo also announced that she will withhold nearly $15 million in payments to United Healthcare Infrastructure Project (UHIP) vendor Deloitte while the state completes an assessment of the vendor’s performance and the stability of the new computer system.

“It is gratifying to finally see the governor take just drastic action on a matter that is affecting the lives of so many Rhode Islanders,” said Representative Serpa. “There’s a lot to unpack there, but I’m cautiously optimistic; and it’s only fair that we give the acting director, Eric Beane, time to straighten out the department. But the committee will be closely monitoring how things unfold and we’ll be expecting a report on the progress of these recent developments.”

Chairwoman Serpa said she would give Beane 30 days to assess the situation and get the department in order before asking him to appear before the House Oversight Committee to public explain what course of action is being taken and which changes have been implemented.

The $364-million Unified Health Infrastructure project, now also called RIBridges, is a statewide computer system that replaces and unifies numerous aged computer systems across the state’s human services agencies, with the goals of modernization, information sharing and efficiency. The program has faced criticism for changes in size and scope over the years.

After the first month of computer glitches that missed payments for 29,000 Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients, and Supplemental Nutritional Assistant Program (SNAP) benefits that were not disbursed, Chairwoman Serpa called a joint meeting of the House Oversight Committee and House Finance Committee with its Chairman Rep. Marvin L. Abney (D-Dist. 73 (Newport, Middletown). There have now been three such meetings.

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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