Health and Human Services

Updating critical state and local systems

Background

Extending impact to state and local governments

Health and Human Services (HHS) is a federal agency, but many crucial HHS programs — like Medicaid — are administered by states.

HHS encourages states to upgrade legacy systems by offering funding incentives, but many states struggle to manage risk and build usable systems while navigating federal and state contracting rules. HHS hired 18F to step in and help states set these projects up for success through the technology acquisition process.

Our experience with 18F has been much different. They have helped us learn agile development as members of our team. The daily standups have really helped us form a close working relationship with them. They have introduced us to a new tools that I expect we will continue to use when our work with them is completed. - Monica Windom, Director Division of Public Assistance, Health and Social Services, State of Alaska
Approach

Reducing risk by breaking up contracts

In our first project with HHS, we helped California get on the right path to buying a new system for child welfare case management by facilitating a two-day workshop to break a monolithic contract into smaller pieces (along with colleagues from California’s Department of Social Services, the Office of Systems Integration, and Code for America).

Next, HHS asked us to work with other states who needed to procure case management systems for child welfare. We also began applying what we learned to a new challenge: working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Systems (also within HHS) to support states who were upgrading Medicaid data systems.