Recovery Act ROI: An Interview with CGI’s Caroline Rapking

CGI’s Caroline Rapking wants to enable state and local government so they can focus on what matters most with the stimulus package.

CGI Technologies and Solutions was recently named one of Washington Technology’s State and Local Who’s Who. With over 25,000 employees and $3.7 billion in 2008 revenue, CGI performs a range of services for more than 190 state and local organizations. They are a leader in human services and debt collection, providing ERP, spend management and e-procurement solutions for state, local and municipal governments.

Like any company who does business with the government, CGI has carefully watched as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has gone from idea to implementation. Less than two month’s after the first project “broke ground” in February, the Obama Administration’s Office of Management and Budget has released two guidance memoranda to help federal, state, local and municipal agencies implement the stimulus package quickly and openly.

“We’ve been taking our time, going over OMB’s guidance very thoroughly the last few days,” says Caroline Rapking, Vice President of CGI’s State & Local Government Industry Group, in an interview with CivSource.

The move to change the first quarterly reporting date to October 10 is an indication that reporting how and where the stimulus dollars are used isn’t going to be quite as simple as everyone had hoped, Ms. Rapking said. “But it’s also a signal that [the Administration] wants it done right and in a transparent manner.”

In March, CGI announced a partnership with Grantium, an enterprise grant management solution provider, who has worked with federal agencies to process applications through Grants.gov, a key reporting requirement of the Recovery Act. “As a guarantor, Grantium is kind of the quarterback in this scenario,” Ms. Rapking says. “And CGI’s AMS Advantage Grant Lifecycle Management is the receiver who manages the post-award reporting process.”

Beyond grant management, CGI’s “back office” expertise allows them to assist a range of state and local entities, from state Medicaid offices to state Departments of Transportation. “On the transportation side, what I tell clients is that, ‘we want to prevent the next Big Dig,’” which was a construction project that rerouted Interstate 93, the chief highway through the heart of Boston, Massachusetts, into a 3.5 mile tunnel under the city. The project was plagued by billions in cost overruns and years of delays due to poor oversight. “Through our cost containment and project management reporting tools,” DOTs can take charge of their projects and have the resources needed to keep them on track.

carolin-rapking-cgi“Our goal is to take our back office expertise and free up more money for state and local government,” Ms. Rapking said.

One area CGI is hoping to pursue has a stimulus purse of $20 billion dollars. Health information technology is an area of real opportunity for anyone in technology. CGI is a leader in health and human services, where they have managed more statewide automated child welfare information systems (SACWIS) than any other provider. And in early April, CGI hired Dr. John Loonsk as Vice-President to lead its health care strategy direction. Dr. Loonsk had been Director for Interoperability and Standards within the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at the Department of Health and Human Services since 2005, according to a company announcement from April 2.

“Bringing on Dr. Loonsk is the logical step for CGI as we link the health IT policies he helped create with our solutions and delivery capabilities,” says Chad Morris, Communications Director for CGI’s State & Local Government Industry Group. CGI has spent a lot of time in health care information technology, playing a big part of the National Health Information Network (NHIN) at a federal and state/regional level. As chief medical officer, Dr. Loonsk will coordinate all of CGI’s business lines at the federal, state and private sector level to implement a unified health IT strategy.

“So much of ARRA will be applied in the health care space, its important to have someone like Dr. Loonsk on board,” Ms. Rapking said.

Companies like CGI find themselves in a very actionable position, given their wide-ranging expertise and the specifics of how the Recovery Act needs to be implemented. Potentially, CGI could 1) help New York bid for stimulus money to develop a regional health information organization (RHIO), as part of the National Health Information Network, 2) help the hospitals involved with the RHIO convert their files to electronic health records, and then 3) provide those hospitals with spend management software to make sure their project stayed on task and on budget.

But as Ms. Rapking notes, “We try to be part of the fabric, not to just make work. We’re interested in the spirit of the Recovery Act. Because at the end of the day, preventing layoffs and creating jobs, is what it’s all about.”

Print Friendly