Colorado’s technology office seeks interim director for benefits management system

The state of Colorado’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) is looking for an interim director for the state’s assistance benefits computer system. The OIT issued a solicitation June 2, after some media reports picked up on stories concerning program backlogs and missed enrollment deadlines.

The $200 million Colorado Benefits Management System (CBMS) is responsible for managing the state’s food stamp recipients, temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) program and Medicaid. And even though there are parts of the system that are five to ten years old, according to the Governor’s OIT Deputy State Chief Information Officer John Conley, the solicitation for an interim director of CBMS is part of a larger overhaul.

“We want someone to look at the internal make-up of the organization and make recommendations on how to improve processes and align staffs,” Mr. Conley said. “Any organization needs to reassess structural organization periodically.”

CBMS is also fresh off a vendor transition from Electronic Data Systems to Deloitte Consulting to develop a Web-based application that will enable citizens to apply for benefits from anywhere by logging on to the Internet.

Mr. Conley said they’re looking for an interim director to come in and perform for about six to twelve weeks. Beyond the organizational recommendations, there are three other main tasks OIT is looking for the interim director to do. Whoever is brought in as interim director, they will also help to develop a system of governance for the technical aspects of the system. “We want someone to be able to set general priorities for CBMS from policy into production,” Conley said.

Another task for the interim director includes generating an outreach strategy to county officials and county technicians. After an interim and full-time director are chosen, he, she or they will represent a single point of contact for CBMS management. Currently, the Department of Healthcare Policy and Financing, Department of Human Services and the Office of Information Technology serve as various points of contact, depending on the origins of the question or problem.

Mr. Conley declined to say if the interim director was going to be a single person or a team of outside consultants. He said there will be creativity on how the request is answered and that he looked forward to reading the host of proposals.

Lastly, and perhaps the most important function of the interim director, according to Mr. Conley, is that they will be involved with choosing their predecessor. “They will be responsible for the selection process of the ultimate director.”

Despite recent criticisms, OIT and CBMS officials are working to modernize the program – a move that “will represent a complete overhaul,” Mr. Conley said.