Another audit, another bad report for the Texas Integrated Eligibility Redesign System, a/k/a TIERS.
Auditors didn't find any significant errors in how eligibility was determined and benefits were calculated in the cases they studied.
But, they concluded, the Health and Human Services Commission "will need significant additional processing capacity and storage to support a statewide rollout of TIERS," including the addition of the Children's Health Insurance Program, scheduled for March.
CHIP will add about 325,000 active and 650,000 inactive clients to the system, the report said.
It also criticized a "poor architectural design" that made the computer system cumbersome to use and hindered TIERS' ability to process and maintain the integrity of data. It also said DHS should consider streamlining its application process for public assistance, including the adoption of a shorter application form.
According to the new audit, the TIERS application/database was down for more than 27 business hours in July during the contract transition period. DHS said the down time was unusual and had been reduced to only 19 minutes in September.
The auditor estimated that TIERS will need at least 230 additional computer processors and an unknown amount of additional storage for a statewide rollout of the system.
DHS spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman said more than $2 million already has been budgeted for additional hardware. She said the addition of CHIP to the system will represent a major step in taking the system statewide.
But she said she didn't know when the process will be completed because federal approval will be required for some programs.
She said TIERS already serves about 12 percent of the state's health and human services caseload.
"It already has more cases than many other states have total," she said.