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FCW : March 30, 2015
Department of Health and Human Ser- vices officials have concurred with a recommendation from the Govern- ment Accountability Office that high- risk IT programs be overseen by HHS’ IT Investment Review Board, which means the CIO will have more visibil- ity into the ongoing development and governance of HealthCare.gov. HHS officials said they “will provide oversight through several mechanisms including the departmentwide review board and the increased responsibil- ities articulated within the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act.” It is one of the first concrete signs that legislation is remedying the oversight weaknesses identified in congressional hearings during the flawed rollout of HealthCare.gov in October 2013. GAO conducted a broad inqui- ry into the management, planning and testing of HealthCare.gov that involved reviewing documents and data through July 2014, covering the period when developers at the Cen- ters for Medicare and Medicaid Ser- vices were fixing HealthCare.gov for the first open-enrollment season and when they were preparing for the HHS CIO to get more control over HealthCare.gov websites are reportedly vulnerable to the Factoring Attack on RSA Export Keys, or FREAK, hack 14M Trending open-enrollment season that kicked off last November. Auditors found that even after full functionality was restored to the ser- vice, problems with project manage- ment, systems testing and oversight persisted. For example, they said that in the race to meet the launch deadline, functional requirements were cleared for development without the approval of the appropriate CMS officials. Even with a new governance pro- cess instituted in June 2014, “CMS has not consistently and appropriate- ly approved requirements,” the GAO report states. Until a system for documenting the approval process for new functionality is in place, “CMS may not establish a shared understanding of requirements with its contractors, potentially result- ing in critical system functionally not providing needed capabilities,” audi- tors warned. According to HHS leaders’ response to the GAO report, that shortcoming has been addressed with an approval system that requires sign-off from offi- cials who supervise contractors. Despite improvements in testing procedures, GAO found that some plans lacked key elements. HHS offi- cials conceded that testing remains a work in progress and said teams at CMS are standardizing testing docu- ments and policies. GAO auditors also want CMS to improve its scheduling process. HHS officials concurred with all the recommendations in the report. GAO also criticized the Office of Management and Budget for not select- ing the HealthCare.gov project for a TechStat accountability session, which would have required project manag- ers to explain the status of flagging development efforts. Although HHS had the primary role in choosing its own projects for TechStat reviews, GAO said OMB had the authority to intervene and target high-risk projects for closer scrutiny. — Adam Mazmanian FCW CALENDAR Cybersecurity Cyber Command’s Adm. Michael Rogers and DHS’ Phyllis Schneck are scheduled to speak at AFCEA DC’s Cybersecurity Technology Summit. Washington, D.C . is.gd/FCW_afcea_cyber IT modernization Commerce CIO Steve Cooper and FDIC CIO/Chief Privacy Officer Barry West are among the many speakers at FCW’s ModernGOV Summit. Washington, D.C . FCW.com/moderngov 4/2 4/1 March 30, 2015 FCW.COM 3 Small business ACT-IAC’s 9th Annual Small Business Conference will feature a track dedicated to transformation technology. Washington, D.C . is.gd/FCW_sbc15 4/22 Even with a new governance process, GAO said, “CMS has not consistently and appropriately approved requirements” for HealthCare.gov. 0330fcw_003-009.indd 3 3/11/15 12:51 PM
March 15, 2015
April 15, 2015