Texas health IT system is not ready for SCHIP

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A computer system, which cost the state of Texas more than $350 million during the past eight years, is not currently ready to handle statewide processing of health and welfare benefits, said the state auditor's office in a recently published report, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

In 1999, the state legislation established the Texas Integrated Eligibility Redesign System, or TIERS, to improve access to benefits and services, which now serves 430,000 welfare, food stamp and Medicaid clients each month in Texas.

The Texas auditors concluded that the Health and Human Services Commission “will need significant additional processing capacity and storage to support a statewide rollout of TIERS,” including the addition of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), scheduled for March 2008.

SCHIP will add about 325,000 active and 650,000 inactive clients to the system, the report said.

The report also criticized a “poor architectural design” that made the computer system difficult to use, hindering its ability to process and maintain the integrity of data. The audit estimated that TIERS will need at least 230 additional computer processors and a great deal more additional storage for a statewide rollout of the system.