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Health exchange board approves emergency contract

The board that oversees the state health exchange approved an $82,000 contract that officials said will expand how the agency tracks customer issues at its call center.

The contract with Eventus Solutions Group was approved by the board of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange.  The terms of the contract, including the cost and other provisions, were not discussed in public session and were not immediately available but were released to the press in an interview following the meeting.

Justin Stokes, a program manager for the exchange, told the phone gathering of board members that the software purchase was unexpected.

Stokes added that he was comfortable with the final cost of the contract.

“It’s 30 percent cheaper than when we started negotiating with Eventus,” said Stokes, adding that the costs were “quite fair.”

State Health Department Sec. Joshua M. Sharfstein, who serves as chairman of the board, said the contract approved Thursday night was not competitively bid but is similar to work already done by Eventus. The company already has a contract for more than $2.7 million that was approved in 2012 after a competitive bid process, Sharfstein said.

“It’s a little extra work,” said Sharfstein, who spoke to a reporter by phone following the meeting but was not present on the call because he was attending a briefing on Ebola and travelling to western Maryland.  “It’s just until the end of November.”

An unknown number of board members who attended the phone meeting unanimously approved the contract during the call, which lasted about 10 minutes.

Exchange officials have expressed confidence that the revamped system, which crashed on its first day during last year’s enrollment and was widely viewed as a failure for the O’Malley-Brown administration, was in good shape to start phased-in enrollment on Nov. 9.

Officials said earlier this week that a series of tests of the new system, which is based on technology acquired from Connecticut’s successful roll-out, had checked out.

One comment

  1. It was actually ‘Eventus’ not ‘Aventis’… The full name is Eventus Solutions Group LLC… If you look at MHBE’s 2012 Procurement list, you’ll see they already have $2.8 million worth as a “Consultant on call center set-up and operations.”