D.C. awards Obamacare IT work to offshore outsourcer
Contract details not available
Computerworld - Infosys recently announced that it had won a $49.5 million contract to develop a health benefit exchange for the District of Columbia. That's one of the larger government contracts won by an offshore outsourcing firm, but it's unclear whether any of the work will be done overseas.
Health benefit exchanges are one of the changes brought by the sweeping healthcare reform bill, which is commonly known as Obamacare but whose official title is the Affordable Care Act. The contract was awarded to a U.S.-based Infosys subsidiary, Infosys Public Services, in January, but the company announced it this month. Infosys is based in India.
The intent of the health exchanges, which are due to begin operation Jan. 1, is to allow consumers to compare various health insurance plans. Insurers can't refuse to sell consumers a policy under the new law.
Infosys is acting as the prime systems integrator on the project, which includes replacing the city's legacy Medicaid and eligibility systems.
Infosys was asked by Computerworld whether the work is being done in the U.S. or offshore, and if H-1B workers were being used on the project. Infosys is one of the largest users of temporary work visas, and it completes much of its IT work in lower-wage countries.
An Infosys spokeswoman said the company will not release any specifics about the contract, but she said it was in compliance with contract's rules.
Similarly, the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority (HBX) has not provided any information about the contract.
An HBX spokesperson said the IT contract was approved by an agency other than the exchange authority, but was uncertain what agency had approved it. Although the exchange authority is ostensibly managing the project, it didn't respond to questions by deadline about whether any of the IT work was being completed outside the United States.
Computerworld has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the District of Columbia's Office of Contracting and Procurement for access to the contract and any memorandums associated with it.
Offshore outsourcing firms have been awarded government contracts in the past, but generally their success in securing government deals has been limited.
David Rutchik, a partner at outsourcing consulting firm Pace Harmon, said offshore services providers haven't historically been big players in public-sector IT work.
"However, as they gain more credibility and beef up their internal U.S. organizations by bringing on more American resources and creating more onshore development centers, they are gaining more traction," Rutchik said. The Infosys contract win is a prime example of that, he said.
Whether outsourcers can use offshore labor depends on the nature of the work. Federal security and privacy rules limit where the work can be done. But "unless there are specific statutes or regulations, they can usually decide whether to use onshore or offshore resources," Rutchik said.
This article, "D.C. Awards Obamacare IT Work to Offshore Outsourcer," was originally published on Computerworld.com.
Patrick Thibodeau covers cloud computing and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov, or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about IT Outsourcing in Computerworld's IT Outsourcing Topic Center.
- Gartner Magic Quadrant for Client Management Tools The client management tool market is maturing and evolving to adapt to consumerization, desktop virtualization, and an ongoing need to improve efficiency.
- Audit Ready and Asset Optimized: The Solid Promise of an Intelligent Software Asset Management Solution In this paper Frost & Sullivan examines the benefits of enterprise-grade Software Asset Management solutions, and how these solutions serve as the convergence...
- Pragmatic Endpoint Management: Empowering an SMB Workforce in the Age of Mobility Lacking the time for proper training and education, SMB administrators often resort to taking shortcuts to keep their environment running.This paper discusses the...
- Gartner Magic Quadrant for Application Security The market for application security testing is changing rapidly. Technology trends, such as mobile applications, advanced Web applications and dynamic languages, are forcing...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy... All IT Outsourcing White Papers | Webcasts