Health Exchange officials urge state to retain Deloitte Consulting to help Xerox

The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange made progress Thursday on some new initiatives.

The exchange’s board recommended in its weekly meeting that the state retain Deloitte Consulting to help Xerox patch problems with the Nevada Health Link website, which is struggling with low enrollment as the Affordable Care Act’s March 31 deadline to sign up looms.

Steve Fisher, interim executive director of the exchange, told the board Deloitte would look at Xerox’s project management to find “gaps or issues with the particular process being followed,” and make recommendations on fixes.

Deloitte also would delve into the website’s technology and infrastructure, to either repair flaws or find different platforms. In addition, the consulting firm would look at how well the online application process functions.

Deloitte’s evaluation would not be complete by March 31, but Fisher said the company’s findings would help the exchange get on track in time for the next open sign-up period in November.

“We’re focused on getting as many people enrolled as we can in this open enrollment, but we have to look ahead to the next open enrollment,” Fisher said. “What we really need to do is have someone do an assessment of where we are on this project — to really take a deep dive into the technology, into the operations side, and make some recommendations to the board and state staff so we have information in front of us to make some decisions on what is the best action to take going forward.”

Mike Willden, director of the state Health and Human Services Department, said other vendors have approached him and offered to assess the site, but he said Deloitte is a natural choice because it has been working successfully with his agency for two years on health care-related technologies.

“My feeling was that if you want to have action quickly, you need to have someone that is at Ground Zero,” he said.

Chief Operating Officer Shawna DeRousse said the exchange has $1.5 million in its budget for the Deloitte contract. Xerox’s original contract was worth $72 million, though the state has paid only $10 million because of delays.

The board also said it will firm up the recruiting process for an executive director in its meeting next week. Current director Jon Hager is stepping down March 14 to pursue other opportunities.

Hager came under fire in February after he cut enrollment goals from 118,000 to 50,000. The website has had more than 1 million unique visitors, but had just 20,214 paid members as of Thursday, Xerox officials told the board. The exchange signed up 894 members in the last week, with three weeks left in the enrollment period.

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at jrobison@reviewjournal.com. Follow @J_Robison1 on Twitter.