Tunnel Rat posted on July 3, 2012 22:29

This pretty much says it all:

To fill the jobs, CSC recruited heavily in India – over half the staff, according to CSC workers who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of being fired. CSC did not respond to questions about foreign workers.

And this is pretty fuckin' absurd:

CSC celebrated the amended contract with an invitation to a July 28, 2011, picnic at Umstead Park: “Please plan to join us for BBQ and Indian Cuisine! It will be a great time to get to know your co-workers as well (as key CSC and DHHS) executives. You might even have the chance to challenge them to a game of bean bag toss or horseshoes!”

WTF? 

Costs soar for updating NC's Medicaid computer system

- jneff@newsobserver.com
Trouble in New York

In 1998, the state of New York hired Computer Services Corporation to design and run a new processing system. The new system came on line in 2005, 33 months late and $166 million over budget, a cost overrun of 47 percent. The state comptroller blamed the delay and cost overrun on both CSC and the state Department of Health.

As it built the new system, CSC was also operating the old claims system. The dual roles meant the state was paying CSC for both jobs, giving the company little incentive to bring the new system in a timely manner, according to the comptroller’s office.

The comptroller also found that the system was not based on the best technology available at the time and was unable to make timely changes when state or federal laws changed. The problems in New York were not solely the fault of CSC. The comptroller found that the Department of Health provided ineffective oversight and missed opportunities to levy penalties allowed under the contract. The department didn’t have a contingency plan in place, and when it came time in 2006 to negotiate an extension, CSC demanded a three-year extension at a cost increase of 62 percent. The comptroller initially opposed the new contract but relented when CSC said it would stop processing claims.

 

[THIS LOOKS LIKE A TARGET RICH ENVIRONMENT]

 

MEDICAID.NE.061312.TEL

People walk to and from the employee parking lot during lunch hour at CSC in Raleigh. CSC holds the biggest contract in state history, a half-billion effort to replace the state's antiquated Medicaid claims program. The computer system is years behind schedule, with hundreds of millions in cost overruns.

RALEIGH In a bland office park off Lake Boone Trail, two computer teams toil away on behalf of the biggest contract in state history – the computer system that processes 88 million Medicaid claims each year.

The 500-plus team of workers from Computer Sciences Corporation, a tech company from northern Virginia, is working to finish the new system by next summer. Upstairs, 200 workers from Hewlett Packard, the technology giant from California, keeps the old 1980s-era system running, receiving, auditing and paying about 250,000 claims each day.

The project has gone in fits and starts since it began in 2004: cancelled and rebid, then amended and extended. Costs have kept rising, so much so that the expense of setting up the new system and running it for seven years, plus maintaining the old system, now adds up to an eye-popping figure: $851 million.

And that’s if it goes on line next summer, as scheduled.

Little in this project has gone as scheduled. The first contractor was dismissed, only $16 million into the work. The second, CSC, is two years behind its original timeline. In the world of information technology, the delays and overruns earn it the title of a “black swan” project.

Most of the delays and cost increases come from changes in federal and state laws and regulations, according to Al Delia, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services. He likened it to a home construction project where the owner asks the builder to add a second floor and garage midstream.

“Most of what have been called cost overruns aren’t really cost overruns,” Delia said.

In the long run, state officials say, the new system has the potential to save the state hundreds of millions of dollars. Along with processing claims for Medicaid – the government health care plan for the poor and disabled – the contract requires the system to be able to process claims from other payers, such as the State Health Plan or the state prison system.

“We expect this will be cutting edge, state of the art,” Delia said.

If so, it will be an unusual cutting-edge system: it’s largely written in COBOL, a computer language developed in the 1950s that is scarcely taught in North Carolina – just community colleges in Hickory and Charlotte. CSC has imported workers from India to fill the jobs in Raleigh.

Legislators wonder if state officials will ever be able to get the project finished.

“The $640 million question is, will the Medicaid system operate as billed?” asked state Rep. Nelson Dollar, a Cary Republican who co-chairs a committee that oversees DHHS. “We are skeptical until we see it.”

CSC declined to answer questions, but released a statement saying the project would be completed on time and within budget: “This new system will enable the State to better manage costs, improve healthcare administrative efficiency and enhance customer service for healthcare providers and recipients.... We are focused on delivering a high performance healthcare system that meets the specific needs of North Carolina and its constituents.”

High hopes

In 2003, the state solicited bids to replace the outmoded Medicaid claims system, which had been operated for 35 years by EDS, a Texas company later purchased by Hewlett Packard. Millions of lines of computer code power the program, which accepts claims from some 70,000 providers – doctors, clinics, hospitals, nursing homes and others.

It’s a big business: the Medicaid program will cost nearly $13 billion in North Carolina this year, about 23 percent from state funds and the rest federal. The new system is designed to detect fraud and avoid waste.

Federal tax dollars pay for 90 percent of the design of the new program and half of its operating costs.

There were high hopes in 2004 when the state gave the $171 million contract to Affiliated Computer Systems to replace the 1980s system.

The project “continues to forge ahead with great expectations,” according to a 2005 letter from Angeline Sligh, the director of the project. “It is our goal that this be one of the best replacement implementations in the nation.”

The project soon fell behind, with DHHS officials and ACS arguing over timeline and payments, each blaming the other for the mess. In May 2006, State Chief Information Officer George Bakolia threatened to kill the project unless the two sides could resolve their differences and come up with workable plan. Bakolia demanded new project managers at DHHS and ACS.

In July 2006, the state cancelled the contract, and eventually paid ACS $16.5 million, partly for work, partly to settle a lawsuit.

The state replaced its project managers, who run the program day to day. Their supervisors – Sligh and her boss, Assistant Secretary for Finance Dan Stewart – remained on the job.

An extension, a picnic

Round two began in 2008, when the state awarded a $265 million contract to CSC, with a go-live date of August 2011.

The contract sparked a fierce fight. HP, which runs the 1980s system, was a bidder on the new contract and protested on technical and political grounds: CSC had retained former DHHS Deputy Secretary Lanier Cansler as a lobbyist. Weeks after the contract award, Cansler was named DHHS secretary by Gov. Bev Perdue.

Stewart denied the protest.

In its bid documents, CSC estimated that 90 percent of the millions of lines of computer code needed could be copied from its New York Medicaid program. CSC later revised that to 73 percent; in the end, because of big differences between the New York and North Carolina Medicaid programs, only 32 percent of the New York code was used.

The program soon fell behind, and in the summer of 2010 CSC asked for an extension. Following a lengthy negotiation, the state granted an 18- to 22-month extension and raised the contract price to $495 million.

CSC celebrated the amended contract with an invitation to a July 28, 2011, picnic at Umstead Park: “Please plan to join us for BBQ and Indian Cuisine! It will be a great time to get to know your co-workers as well (as key CSC and DHHS) executives. You might even have the chance to challenge them to a game of bean bag toss or horseshoes!”

Delia, who became DHHS secretary in February, says CSC added six months of delay by overestimating how much code it could bring from New York. The company agreed to pay the state $10 million in damages, an amount criticized as unsubstantiated and low in a subsequent state audit.

The rest of the delay, Delia said, stems from changes in federal and state laws and regulations, and was out of the control of DHHS.

A January report from State Auditor Beth Wood questioned the six-month figure, saying that DHHS did a poor job of documenting how it made key decisions: determining the six-month delay; calculating the damages owed by CSC; and tracking $30 million in unauthorized changes that CSC made in the program.

The audit was contentious from the start. Stewart told Wood that his staff was too busy to answer questions and provide documents. Their cooperation “will, by necessity, be minimal due to the lack of staff time, the urgency to complete the project and the liability related to delaying the IT contractors working on the project.”

The department’s response, twice as long as the audit, disagreed with virtually every paragraph, calling the audit biased, inaccurate, unproductive, ill-informed, unfounded and asinine.

Wood called the audit the most difficult of her career.

“It was the most uncooperative, dragging-the-feet, missing-deadlines audit like I’ve never seen,” she said.

During a hearing in January, legislators looking into the project asked Angie Sligh to grade her management of the contract. She gave herself an A.

Writing in COBOL

The audit did not touch on the fact that the state contracted in 2008 for a program written in COBOL, a computer language written in the 1950s. According to Bakolia, the former state chief information officer, COBOL is used in banking, transportation and federal systems that have been in use for decades, but it is almost never used in new systems.

“If the programs are written well and operate, companies don’t want to rewrite them,” Bakolia said. “If I were to write something today, it would not be COBOL. You can’t support it.”

In North Carolina, classes in COBOL are as popular as 8-track tapes. Wake Tech’s extensive computer science offerings don’t have COBOL, and neither does N.C. State.

Frank Mueller, an N.C. State computer science professor, said the supply of COBOL programmers is dwindling as people retire.

“As a consultant to any company, I would probably advise them against using COBOL,” Mueller said. “The problem is that it’s harder to find someone to change the code. If you change the law, you have to change the code.”

Asked about COBOL in an interview Thursday, Stewart said: “This is the first time I’ve ever heard that question raised.”

To fill the jobs, CSC recruited heavily in India – over half the staff, according to CSC workers who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of being fired. CSC did not respond to questions about foreign workers.

Stewart said he had no idea about the staff makeup.

“I have never seen their staff,” he said.

Delia said it is not an issue.

“It’s a private company, we have no way of knowing,” Delia said. “They are legal workers, it’s kind of a non-question.”

After working through a tough audit, firing a contractor and enduring multiple extensions, state officials have now turned their attention to another participant in the project: their own watchdog.

They are threatening to fire Maximus Inc., the Virginia firm paid to police the project for the state. Maximus, nearing the end of a three-year contract, is paid $1 million a year.

Neff: 919-829-4516

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/06/17/2142627/state-contract-for-updating-computer.html


Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/06/17/2142627/state-contract-for-updating-computer.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/06/17/2142627/state-contract-for-updating-computer.html#storylink=cpy

Comments (17) -


United States Tipster
July 4. 2012 00:07
Tipster



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United States debug
July 4. 2012 00:18
debug

So sad with many programmers unemployed, we pay the taxes  and the indians benefit


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United States James
July 4. 2012 08:12
James

What these slumdogs are actually doing is paying off the American execs for these projects with bribes so they can drag it out as long as possible. That way they get billable hours and export more of our wealth to India. They want it to drag on for years and years and years so they can suck millions out of us and send it to India. That is what those Indians walking in the photo are doing. You could almost put a caption bubble above the guy's head with something like "Sucker Americans! We're ripping you off!"

And I thought all Indians were geniuses? YEARS to write a billing system? YEARS? 5 good American programmers could do it 6 months max. And for a cost of around $50 million. Not HALF A BILLION. I thought slumdogs were better, faster, cheaper? Why is it taking YEARS and HALF A BILLION to write a simple billing system? So much for that theory. Slumdogs must be IDIOTS if it's taking them YEARS to do it.

What is really going on here is wealth redistribution on a massive scale from USA to India under the guise of "working". It's a con. They probably sit around in the chairs with their feet up all day spitting bettle juice on the nice pristine white walls like they do in India.


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United States Dean
July 4. 2012 12:01
Dean

Everything about this is so classic: fucked-up government officials ( the same type that brought us the awesome visa programs in the US that have brought IT to it's knees ), add in a money-hungry slumdog shop like CSC ( you can substitute CrapGemini, IBM G/S, H/P - as if they would have done a better job ), and then finally douse with a liberal amount of slumdog shit-for-brains, and wallah!!! - you have a disaster project.
I've seen this so many, many times, I'm sorry to say. But then again, what else would you expect. Most of what you read in this article is pretty much the slumdog modis operandi: refusing to document and/or turn over documentation ( but when they need information spoon-fed into their tiny brains, they throw temper-tantrums ), I'm sure the whole app is full of hard-coding and all types of stupid architecture - why else would you have to change everything when the laws change ? Aren't companies like CSC experts with this type of thing, don't they know that laws change, and you should have a flexible dynamic design that allows for this? Of course, when  you hire an army of job-robbers, all with fake resumes ===> then what else do you expect?

For all of those shithead JR's that post hear, if you don't like what we have to say how about this: go start your own blog, and you can bash on all the countries that you go to and live off of (ie. US, UK, Australia ). I think pretty much everyone is sick of your at this point...

Warmest Regards,
Please do the needful

Smile


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United States Still seeing it
July 4. 2012 12:50
Still seeing it

To fill the COBOL jobs they turned to Indians?  As if they are taught COBOL with any competence? (not to mention it is based on English constructs, so a certain language skill is needed) And work on concepts related to modern American medical claims processing based on absolutely NO first-hand experience. Well, with the lure of easy government money there will be more of this - fortunately not all states have the same easy going approach to contract staffing the state of North Carolina does.  The Tarheels need to get some accountability from their government.


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United States Still seeing it
July 4. 2012 12:56
Still seeing it

And, by the way, there are plenty of American, US based experienced Medicaid developers available who would not need to be learning on the job.  Just see where some of these other companies have contracts - follow the trail.


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United States joshua
July 5. 2012 20:51
joshua



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Canada ezygoer
July 9. 2012 04:12
ezygoer

How about some laws like giving state contracts to US firms with domestic workers if there any any such entities left ? Or are they all extinct ?

Money will flow to India or Mexico if allowed to - heard the President elect in Mexico on CNBC pleading for open borders to allow free flow of drugs into the US for the Cartel violence to end there. His logic is that demand continues to expand
exponentially in the US for the stuff so cannot be kept out !


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United States Indian Tatti
July 10. 2012 00:26
Indian Tatti

www.itbusinessedge.com/.../?cs=50750

Posted by Don Tennant Jul 8, 2012 10:01:00 PM

There are a lot of people who have longed for the day when Jay Palmer’s whistleblower lawsuit against Infosys would inspire employees in other visa-dependent IT services providers operating in the United States to summon the courage to speak out against visa fraud in their companies. That day has finally come. The company is Mumbai-based Tata Consultancy Services.



A TCS manager currently based in the United States, whose identity needs to be protected and whom I will call “Revealer,” has provided me with internal correspondence and other documents that reveal that TCS is engaging in the same B-1 visa fraud that internal Infosys documents have shown Infosys to be engaged in. Thanks to Revealer, that internal TCS information is also in the possession of the same federal authorities who are wrapping up the criminal investigation of Infosys.



The internal TCS documentation includes correspondence associated with the TCS team working on the Sears Holdings account in Hoffman Estates, Ill., outside of Chicago. That correspondence includes an incriminating Feb. 22, 2012, email to the TCS management team working on the Sears account, sent by Vibha Jindal, the New Delhi-based “delivery owner” for the Sears account. That is, Jindal is the manager responsible for delivering TCS personnel to the Sears client site. Here’s an excerpt from the email:

    I would also like to introduce Mohit Bhatnagar. He has joined Sears as the Offshore engagement manager for SSM. Mohit comes with rich experience of managing OSS Support for CVS. He will move to Chicago when his B1 is ready. Please extend all your support and enthusiasm to him.

What we have here, then, is a TCS employee moving to Chicago to work as the engagement manager for the Sears account. And the TCS personnel delivery machine is knowingly, willfully doing that by means of a B-1 visa. The B-1, as you probably know from following the Infosys story, is the business visa intended for use by people traveling to this country for short-term visits to engage in activities like attending conferences, negotiating contracts and undergoing training. It’s against U.S. immigration law for an employee on a B-1 visa to work at a client site. So bringing in an employee to work as the engagement manager at the Sears client site on a B-1 visa is particularly egregious.



According to Revealer, TCS engages in fraudulent activity to beat the B-1 system by means of a workaround that involves sending B-1 visa holders to Canada for a week every three months. In fact, Bhatnagar and a second manager working at the Sears client site on a B-1 visa, Kannan Rangachari, covered for each other during the week out, Revealer said.



Revealer has documentation of the travel of other B-1 visa holders, whose arrival at Sears in Hoffman Estates came around the same time that Sears laid off approximately 100 of its own IT staff from that operation. To avoid detection when traveling to and from Canada, they arrive and depart from different airports, they may reverse their first and last names, and they sometimes simply change a letter in the spelling of their names, Revealer explained.



Again, all of this information is in the possession of the federal authorities. We knew all along that this stuff was happening at companies other than Infosys, and that the only thing that made Infosys unique was that it was an Infosys employee who summoned the courage to speak up and do something about the fraud. The actions of Revealer, like those of Palmer, are nothing short of heroic.



“This is not right,” Revealer said, “and should be stopped.”



I have a hunch that once the feds are finished with Infosys, which I suspect will be sooner rather than later, they’re going to be casting a much wider net. And from the looks of things, TCS might well be the next company to be ensnared.


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Liechtenstein Burn them down
July 10. 2012 20:24
Burn them down

Americans are impotent who can only bitch on public their  forums, i still cant understand how their fore fathers fought  revolution.

these junkies are full on porn and sex.

These guys cant fight, all they have is first amendment or some BS rights

Why cant you take a gun and blow the heads of few slumdogs, start doing what aussies have done to these cockroaches

but you know A nation raised by mothers , full of sissies cant fight LOL

These moron americans can kill onnly arabs who cant defend themselves, even americans cant fight without weapons , thats how useless they are without technology

Now start few more blogs and bitch like a women


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United States James
July 11. 2012 06:25
James

Impotent?

Here is what happens when American companies hire slumdogs to write their code: their projects get all screwed up and they have to come beg we "impotent" Americans to come clean up the slumdog messes:

Title: iOS Sr. Developer
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Duration: Contract, 3 months
Start Date: ASAP

Job Description:

* Programming using the Objective-C language, and the Xcode suite of tools to target applications for handheld devices running the iOS platform

* Peripherals management using iPOD sleds from such manufacturers as Verifone, Infinite Peripherals

* Ability to parse XML-formatted messages in an Objective-C coded software application

* ****** Troubleshooting and re-architecting of existing solutions on an iOS platform ****** [ HAHAHAHA! ]

* Hands on development defect fixing, enhancing and developing new applications targeted for the iOS platform

* Demonstrates ability to debug complex problems on applications developed personally and targeted for an iOS device

* Demonstrates ability to harden prototyped code for use in a non-prototype environment

SHASHANK VERMA | Manager – Talent Acquisition, U.S.
shashank.verma@infogain.com
www.Infogain.com | Global Business and IT Consulting Leader


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Canada ezygoer
July 12. 2012 12:02
ezygoer

Finally a ray of realization - Govt. Motors(GM) on the cover of Info. week with a new veteran CIO Motta (ex Walmart, HP CIO) announces no outsourcing in 3 years and plans to reverse the current trend of 90% outsourcing and 10% in house to 90 in & 10 out. Affected EDS, CapG, CSC, & Wipro etc.

Does anyone wanna bet on this or is it a bailout ploy in an election year? And will the rest of Corp. America (who did not get bailout $$$ or will never) follow in GM's footsteps?


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Liechtenstein Burn them down
July 12. 2012 17:26
Burn them down

@James

Still you will be reckoned as impotent, first you have not taken any steps to clean these pests from your nation.

You allowed them to invade, now after they cleaned out your farm, you plant few more seeds in hope of better harvest next summer.

Once these seeds germinate and give rise to fruits , again you allow SLUMDOGS to come , and have fruits of your labor .

then you bitch again.

What's your problem, cant you see?

Kick these parasites out, burn them,are you so attracted to them?

May be it seems, you take no initiative other than creating blogs

America has become a Nation of Bloggers, most of Bloggers are Cribbing about useless things

You know why you have Become a nation moaning,bitching, cribbing Whiners?--because you were Raised by Women.

You were not taught how to be men.

Atleast if these Dogs do same thing in ARAB world of China , they will be punished severely

Ever heard Indian Ambassador Forced to Drink Chinese Urine for Not paying the Charged amount

Yes Chinese Forced SLUMDOG indian to drink their Urine for not paying money and not delivering project

There are such numerous accounts happening across gulf world--Indians crib about their Gulf masters that Arab sheiks are lazy and only indians work hard and inreturn they get abused.


Indians are parasites James, they need host and you have been easier access for them , no amount of Protest , not even Raising their voice.

Indians are so happy that you are such a moron, In arab world they were used and abused, if they raise their voice they will get 100 lashes

In china they were forced to eat Faecal matter of COW for not paying the  money and not Giving the delivery on time.

and who is stopping you moron from taking charge.

You just crib, whine like a women, and indians know this too, you can't do anything other than whining

  


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United States bobinator
July 13. 2012 13:46
bobinator

1: Non-people Disappearing are not factored into Disappearing people's statistics, and Disappearing people's statistics are not factored into Homicide statistics.

Long story short, we don't have to do anything; I'm sure you guys are doing a fine enough job watering the soil with your bretherens blood.  That's the modus operandi of Human trafficking; dispose of the evidence; and one of the reasons it's illegal.  

2: By being here you've made American Tech Better.  You've fleeced out all the underpaid, menial positions and forced those who decided to stay in the field to generalize or specialize to the extreme.  The end result is the American Techies who have survived may be underpaid, but they are better technicians, programmers, and sysadmins for it.  Viruses weed the weak from the strong, and when there are no more weaklings left, the herd is stronger for it.  Companies will swing back to American IT and when they do, India will be denied the international market for IT labor.


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United States James
July 13. 2012 14:56
James

Brits know how to handle these slumdogs:

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/.../14852653.cms


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Switzerland SlumLord
July 13. 2012 16:30
SlumLord

I agree with "Burn them Down "

James is a whining coward who whines and bitches all day long like a woman on periods. James you are a coward and not to fit in live in america. Pack your bags and go back to ghetto slums of poland .America is survival of fittest and obviously you aren't the one  !!!  


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Switzerland SlumLord
July 13. 2012 16:31
SlumLord

/ignore my typos **


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