Sebelius orders review of “unacceptable” rollout

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is launching an investigation into the error-ridden rollout of the federal health exchange site,

Construction & Engineering


Kathleen Sebelius is mad and she’s not going to take it anymore.
The Health and Human Services Secretary announced Wednesday that she has launched an internal review to determine which management practices and department policies are to blame for the failed rollout of

Sebelius made the announcement after facing yet another round of questioning by members of Congress on low enrollment figures for federally-facilitated health insurance plans.

“The initial launch of was flawed, frustrating and unacceptable,” Sebelius said before members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “Now that the website is working more smoothly, I’ve determined it’s the right time to begin a process of better understanding the structural and managerial policies that led to the flawed launch so we can take action to avoid these problems in the future.”

Sebelius admitted that in retrospect, she would have tried for a “slower launch” of the federal health exchange site.

As part of the review, Sebelius is asking HHS Inspector General Dan Levinson to go over the enrollment process, the program management structure, contractor performance and contractor payment issues.

Sebelius will also ask CMS head Marilyn Tavenner to create a permanent chief risk officer position for the site, which would include monitoring IT.

The botched rollout caused numerous problems for producers and their clients, leading Anchorage-based agent Joshua Weinstein to label the launch “a hideous, atrocious disaster.”

“We can’t build business because we can’t get anyone far enough in the process,” Weinstein said shortly after the rollout. “No one has been able to look at plan selection or find out if they qualify for federal subsidies.”

Since the Obama administration announced new, “fixed” features of the site, producers say the website is functioning much better, though not at a level able to handle the flood of client applications due shortly before Christmas.

“It’s just getting better and better, every day. Or at least that’s what they tell me,” said Wichita Falls, Texas-based producer Kelly Fristoe. “Am I seeing some successes? Yes. But they are far and few between. They’re not what they need to be with Dec. 23 right around the corner.”

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