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