April 03, 2007
It wasn't all Accenture's fault

When the state finally cut bait on the disastrous Accenture/HHSC outsourcing experiment, many fingers were pointed at Accenture in blame. But as the Texas Observer reports, a significant amount of blame should land on the shoulders of the Health and Human Services Commission itself, and its director, Albert Hawkins.

An Observer review of thousands of pages of state documents reveals that while Accenture certainly made mistakes, it was Hawkins who relentlessly pushed the program toward launch on January 20, 2006--what HHSC described as the "go-live" date--despite numerous warnings from federal officials, Accenture, and his own auditor that the network of call centers wasn't ready. HHSC officials also intentionally scaled back tests they knew the system would fail. And Hawkins moved the call-center project forward at two separate stages without obtaining prior federal approval--despite repeated warnings from the feds--actions that cost the state millions in federal funds.

Read the whole thing - it's a great summary of the full sorry saga, with new information added. As HHSC Employee says:

In any other business anywhere else, if this happened, Hawkins would have been fired. Heads would roll in the State Office Corridors. We certainly know that if a worker(s) were the cause of this much money being flushed down the drain, they'd have CERTAINLY been fired. If QC read cases on Worker A who gave out millions in error- that worker would be GONE. Virtually IMMEDIATELY. Yet, Hawkins, in whatever quest he's on - is still the "head" of this and still hasn't been asked to leave.

Will that change now? It was reporting by the Observer that has largely led to the TYC shakeup. Who's to say that lightning won't strike again? Stay tuned.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 03, 2007 to Budget ballyhoo