Rhode Island Chief Digital Officer Resigns

Thom Guertin will temporarily remain at his post to ensure a seamless transition of power.

by / January 13, 2017

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo has announced major changes to the state’s health-care system, a part of which included two resignations: Human Services Director Melba Depeña Affigne and Chief Digital Officer (CDO) Thom Guertin, who oversaw the system's design and implementation.

"Rhode Islanders deserve a system that they can be confident in,” Raimondo said in a press release. "We are making changes in our leadership team so we can do a better job holding our vendor and our departments accountable.”

In September 2015, Rhode Island spent $80 million to roll out a new eligibility portal for health and human services called the United Healthcare Infrastructure Project (UHIP). It was the first update the system has seen since the 1980s, so the goal was to create an upgraded system that is compliant with current federal requirements.

After months of setbacks within the state’s Department of Human Services, the governor decided to rethink the system. Part of her decision involves withholding $15 million from Deloitte, a UHIP vendor.

“Rhode Islanders won't pay a penny more to Deloitte until we complete an assessment of their contract and I'm satisfied they're in compliance with the terms," Raimondo said in the release. "Once it's operating properly, this system will improve customer service and save taxpayer money."

Both Depeña and Guertin will remain in their respective departments until the transition has been smoothly made. In the meantime, state CIO Chris Antonellis has been appointed as the acting director of Rhode Island’s IT division.