Sebelius Calls For Review Of HHS Practices That Led To Debacle
"The launch of HealthCare.gov was flawed and simply unacceptable."Those are the words of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, published Wednesday just before she met with people who share those views: members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.With her agency under fire since the website's failed release last month, Sebelius announced an internal inquiry and other steps that will focus on improving the contracting process, project management and employee training."I believe strongly in the need for accountability, and in the importance of being good stewards of taxpayer dollars," Sebelius wrote in a blog post ahead of the hearing.Those dollars run in the billions. With the agency's Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services division spending $5.3 billion on contracts in 2013, Sebelius said, HHS is the third-largest contracting agency in the federal government.Sebelius wrote that "structural and managerial policies" led to the flawed website's launch. And to prevent a repeat of the problems, she laid out three steps:
- Asking HHS Inspector General Dan Levinson to review the development of HealthCare.gov, focusing on how the contractors were chosen, program management and contractor performance, in addition to payment issues.
- Creating a new position of CMS chief risk officer, who will focus on mitigating risk across CMS's programs. Sebelius will seek recommendations from the risk officer within two months.
- Update training for CMS employees on best practices for contractor and procurement management, rules and procedures.
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