HHS IG REPORT SHOWS AGENCIES SOMETIMES AT FAULT FOR BAD OUTCOMES- DOES THAT MATTER?

Nearly two full years after the healthcare.gov meltdown the HHS IG came out with their report last week.  The report stated, “Contracting officers and contracting officer’s representatives did not always manage and oversee contractor performance as required by Federal requirements and contract terms. CMS did not always comply with Federal regulations regarding designation and certification requirements for contracting officer’s representatives.”  Unfortunately for the prime contractor and others who lost their jobs, the timing of the report means that the findings will amount to little more than a footnote as two years have passed.  Contractors, however, should pay attention to the footnote. It shows that they can be held disproportionately – and more immediately – responsible for a failure, even if that failure had many reasons.  You’re the scapegoat and you will take the blame while the spotlight is on.  Eventually a report may come out that finds fault with agency actions, but whether anything happens to an agency official is unknown.  In the current case, for example, HHS refused to say.  Proceed accordingly.