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Vendors Vow HIX Will Be Ready on Time

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, September 11, 2013

"I've just gone through 20 steps…I'm a little skeptical that this system will function as advertised," Pitts said.

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), ranking member of the subcommittee, cautioned that although "hiccups and unanticipated issues will occur along the way, we need to put them in perspective."

Representatives from CGI Federal Inc., Equifax Work Solutions, Serco Inc., and Quality Software Services Inc., firms with decades of experience in government contracting among them, addressed a wide range of committee concerns, including the readiness of the data services hub, IT applications, paper applications, income and employment verification, and project modifications.

The contractors also assured the subcommittee members that they are well-versed in protecting personal information and have safeguards in place to protect the privacy of personal data.

Data Services Hub
The data hub, a networked system for verifying consumers' Social Security numbers, immigration status and other information when they log on to health insurance exchanges had been delayed, and beset by security concerns. But federal officials announced Tuesday that the hub has been security tested and will be operational by September 30.

The hub will be owned and operated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It will be housed in a CMS secure cloud hosted at a data center.

Michael Finkel, executive vice president for program delivery at QSSI, which is charged with writing the software code for the federal government's data services hub, said QSSI, too, is meeting its delivery milestones on time.

Software coding is complete, performance and integration testing is underway, and the hub is connected to the system that will transfer data to and from health plans. It is also connected to the databases at the federal agencies tasked with verifying information.

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