Matthew Holt

Canadians? Not as good as us!

Several of my friends in the blogosphere are getting very excited because eHealth Ontario has pissed away a few million dollars and the now fired CEO got more bonus than was seemly. So she gave Accenture and Price Waterhouse Coopers low 7 figure no-bid contracts and it’s now transpired that consultants billed food and random travel for expenses. MrH at HISTalk gives it two separate mentions in his section of the news and Inga piles in as well.

But I must remind you that as in all things Canadians pale in comparison to how we do it here.

Exhibit A. UC Davis’ Epic installation in which gym memberships were billed to the state, among other things. Overruns in the tens of millions. Think Deloitte was the one involved there, but correct me if I’m wrong please.

Exhibit B. Martin Luther King, the basket case hospital in LA. Navigant Consulting (the old Hunter Group) paid $15m for work not apparently done, or done while consultants were off site, double billing airfares, etc, etc. Nurse managers were $36k a month. That makes whatever the Canucks paid out look cheap, especially as it was in American dollars not those phoney northern ones. And did we get a renewed, better MLK Hospital out of the deal? Nah, it was closed in 2007.

Exhibit C. The VA had consultants (ugh forget which ones but some reader knows) put in a new system in Florida (Tampa) that never worked and was finally killed by Congress (Help on this one please, as I cant find it, but I think the CIO got promoted!)

Exhibit D. This is one you won’t find on Google but I’ve had it confirmed three times. The product that’s now Availity was originally something called Virtual Office developed by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida. The idea was that Florida doctors would get all their claims systems delivered online by the Blues (or something like that). Andersen Consulting apparently was paid around $100m by BCBS Florida in the late 1990s (and I heard a rumor that something similar happened at Blues of Tennessee too). As you might expect it didn’t do exactly what it was supposed to. I know for a fact that around $2m was paid to another consulting firm to provide the evidence that finally shut the project down, whereupon the remnants were merged into Humana’s Kinetra effort. I guess Availity is still going and appears to be doing well enough to be able to afford props from Newt, but given that Florida is about the size of Ontario, I wonder if the Canadian Accenture partners now are doing as well as their predecessors did in Florida in the 1990s.

The good news is that the Canadians are recognizing our rich history and trying to imitate it. But to those of you worried that the US is losing its edge, I’m still convinced that we’re #1. For now…

Categories: Matthew Holt

Tagged as: , ,

5 replies »

  1. posting a bunch of names with million dollar mistakes from the 90’s isn’t going to make health care any better. We should get with the rest of the developed world and choose government run healthcare.
    I demand it from Congress!

  2. Your military runs a health care service for your troops which is better than anything you can get. Its Government run and it is the best, It works and your not even willing to go get it. This goverment run, supreme care is what every Canadian citizen is entitled to. At no cost at anytime. The cost is taken from the federal income tax i pay every week, and taken off automatically from my paycheck. I don’t miss it, and i’m glad i pay it because if i ever needed to go to the hospital i wouldn’t want a bill waiting for me there.
    Your system treats the thought of healthcare as Our (canadian)dental system. We need to seek coverage through our employer or we pay thousands of dollars.
    By simply saying yours is better is an illusion. the republican party wants you to believe it so they can continue to receive millions of dollars from private insurers and i think its sick.

  3. It’s still newsworthy, even if it’s not the most egregious example in history. Rarely are folks like that caught red handed, so that makes up for all the examples that aren’t detected. And, it’s not a competitive sport — wrong is wrong.
    UC Davis was Deloitte (mid-2006, around $14 million). Bay Pines (Tampa area, 2004) was BearingPoint and its CoreFLS ERP system ($450 million plus). The CIO who took a BearingPoint job after getting caught in some questionable dealings, however, was Kim Bahrami, former CIO of the State of Florida (the $126 million worth of state contracts she had apparently illegally approved had gone to BearingPoint). That was in 2004.

  4. Almost all innovation fails: Be it an IT installation or a new breakfast cereal. That is not the issue. The issue is whether innovation is done by entrepreneurs who “fail fast”; and the ones who gets it right win, or whether the government manages innovation, in which case the losers trudge along forever, depending on how politically connected they are.

  5. notice how all the examples are government and non profit plans? Sometimes I start to wonder if government might not be capable of running healthcare…I often feel alone in the belief though.
    MedCost in Carolinas did an excellent job setting up an EDI platform for providers years ago, they were well ahead of everyone else we worked with.