April Washington's had a follow-up article on January 19 to her January 18 piece on the CBMS hearings (see previous post) entitled "Benefits Glitches Blasted". Colorado legislators, justifiably critical of the $223 million welfare-benefits computer's problems which went live on September 1, 2004, "blasted state officials Thursday for launching the computer two years ago when they knew it had flaws". As one example, the article stated that "Needy people are getting, in some cases, 10-page notices daily telling them that they have been overpaid by $900 and that their next month's food stamps payment will be cut by at least 10 percent, according to a letter handed to lawmakers by Linda Olson, an attorney with Colorado Legal Services." There's more in the article.
Looking at the bright side, Ron Houston, a spokesman for the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) was quoted as saying "Once you build a system, you never walk away from it," "It needs maintenance, just like a car." The only problem is that CBMS was never really built, was it? Kind of like buying a car that was never completely assembled; never test-driven and missing a few parts here and there. An even brighter perspective was offered by Alden Schoctner, regional director of government relations for EDS, the outside contractor for CBMS, whom the article quoted as saying "the state will need to spend millions more to get CBMS to work as it was envisioned." Wonder who gets those millions more. The article, which is worth reading in its entirety, didn't say.
BTW, there are a couple of good comments from readers on CBMS on my August 27 2006 Blog post. Just scroll on down.