To appreciate the complexities of the Access Health
CT project, one must retrace the history of the U.S.
A;ordable Care Act.
Signed into law in March 2010, the bill mandated
health insurance for U.S. citizens, made available
through federal or state online marketplaces. Connecticut was one of 16 states that opted to build,
launch and operate its own exchange, with a ;xed
deadline of 1 October 2013.
But the state didn’t have approval to develop the
exchange until December 2012. What would have
been a three-year project had just 10 months to be
up and running.
To meet the deadline while balancing political
pressures and enormous operational challenges,
the team turned to outside vendors and consulting
;rms. KPMG was engaged as the technical adviser,
while Deloitte served as the system integrator.
“Everything that wasn’t our core strength—
setting up call centers, scanning paper applications,
printing, development—got outsourced,” says Jim
Wadleigh, CIO of Access Health CT.
;e team also established a project management
o;ce (PMO) to manage the intense requirements
analysis and stakeholder issues. “I wouldn’t ever
even consider not having a PMO on this type of
project,” he says.
;e team had to coordinate services with federal agencies and integrate work ;ows into state
groups—all while staying focused on the 365,000
uninsured and under-insured Connecticut residents
using the site.
Each stakeholder group was represented dur-
ing weekly meetings, where the team discussed
problems and hashed out solutions. ;at intense
coordination took time, but it also ensured issues
were addressed early on and the team’s rolling-
wave project plans weren’t disrupted or reworked
Likewise, each vendor was required to submit
a one-page status report to the PMO each week,
including the top ;ve risks, dependencies, accomplishments and priorities for the week ahead.
With federal requirements still being ;nalized
and the team in the thick of execution, project leaders realized their full ambitions wouldn’t be realized
by the deadline. So they reassessed the critical path
and reduced the scope to 19 business-essential
functions, delaying or eliminating other features
such as mobile device support.
;at scope reduction allowed the project team
to meet the October 2013 deadline without going
over budget. When the site went live, there were
no major IT glitches or stakeholder uproars. As
of March 2014, more than 190,000 residents had
signed up for health insurance, exceeding federal
enrollment targets. PM
ACCESS HEALTH CT
t, USA residents to
e health insurance
Budget: US$180 million
n: Hartford, Con-