CGI to build Vermont's HIX

By Anthony Brino
02:12 PM

Vermont has contracted with global IT firm CGI to build the infrastructure for Vermont Health Connect, the state’s health insurance exchange.

The two year, $36 million contract comes as Vermont and the other 17 states building their own HIXs prepare for a sprint to October 2013 enrollment. The total cost of setting up Vermont’s exchange is estimated at $118 million, all of it federally-funded at this point, and the contract with Fairfax, Va.-based CGI comes with a two-year extension.

CGI is also working on HIXs for Hawaii, Colorado and Massachusetts, and the firm is building IT systems for the federal exchange.

[See also: Delaware becomes first state-federal HIX partnership to gain approval]

The Department of Vermont Health Access is overseeing the creation of the exchange, which has had some starts and stops in its IT implementation, along with IT projects at other state agencies.

“The previous vendor that we had been working with was unwilling to accept the state’s legal terms and conditions, which were really important to us considering the recent trouble we’ve had with IT vendors,” Robin Lunge, Vermont’s director of Health Care Reform, told the VT Digger.

Lunge said the exchange contract with CGI was modelled after HIX contracts in other states. “Basically, we will not be recreating the wheel,” he said in a media release. “Instead, we will take advantage of existing resources to reduce costs and reuse them in a way that works for our state.”

The exchange is also being designed around the Medicaid Information Technology Architecture, or MITA, a common framework initiative promoted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as a way to link state eligibility systems for Medicaid and HIXs.

CGI vice president of state health solutions, Melissa Boudreault, who also helped design and implement the Massachusetts Health Connector, told the VT Digger that the exchange platform will be built with software from the California-based company Oracle, whose platforms are already in fairly wide use.

[Q&A: On the inevitability of an HIX delay]

“We’re going to put a wrapper around that,” Boudreault said. “We’re going to take advantage of what’s already in place and put tools and functionalities through the portal so the piece that will be visible to the public will sit on top of what’s already here.”

Vermont is charting an ambitious course towards the goal of a statewide single payer health system by 2017, under the direction of the Green Mountain Care Board. Vermont Health Connect is designed to be a sort of transition vehicle that helps control the state’s healthcare costs and introduces new delivery and payment models.