“For the past five months, Amanda’s Medicaid payments have been delayed because of problems at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services”

It is being blamed on the computer system:

Officials within the state agency acknowledge they’ve had trouble with a new $64.2 million computer system that handles Medicaid services. Glitches with the automated system caused a backlog of claims, preventing the state from processing some prior authorizations for therapies and medical equipment.

The agency has been unable to process about 10% of its claims for prior authorization within the 20-day time period required under state law. Some requests have taken four times longer to be approved.

As a result, about 2,500 people who use Medicaid have been left wondering when, or if, they’ll get approval for things such as physical therapy, a new wheelchair or leg braces to help them walk.

I don’t know anything about how this system was designed, programmed and deployed.

I do wonder if it was contractors or State IT workers doing the project.

When I was getting near to graduating from College many years ago, the economy wasn’t so great. Just to be safe, I took some State IT civil service exam. A big part of the exam was on programming in COBOL. COBOL is a business programming language used almost exclusively on IBM mainframe computers. I was a a CompSci major programming mostly in C (also Pascal, assembly, Fortran, Lisp, Common Lisp, and ProLog).We didn’t go near COBOL. 

My Cobol knowledge came from flipping through a roomate’s girlfriend’s Cobol book the night before the exam while talking and watching TV.

I ended up second or third on the State list. I never took a state job and  I went to work doing IT for a defense contractor in what turned out to be an ideal environment for a first job.

Let me say, I was a very good programmer.

However, if I can place really high up on a State list for programming in language I know nothing about (to this day I have never even logged into a Mainframe), what does that say about the quality of the State IT programmers?

Grace Hopper – Navy Chick and a major mover behind COBOL

2 Responses

  1. I don’t know what the situation is in Wisconsin. In South Dakota, several years ago Governor Janklow defined the senior programmers and IT folk out of a job, which decapitated our state government’s ability to successfully deploy large IT projects (as two fiascos, the new license plate system and the Gateway laptop debacle demonstrate.)

  2. I really don’t know anybody it State IT. I kow they have a big budget though!

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