“Requesting Damages Due to a Dysfunctional Early Intervention Management System”
In December of 2017, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) implemented a state-wide Early Intervention Management System (EIMS) with the expectation that this was an upgrade of the previous information system referred to as Covancys. The promise to the community providers and other critical players in the Early Intervention system was that the new software would provide a more integrated management system, immediate access to data (real time) and would require less administrative support for the providers and practitioners. Unfortunately, the subsequent two years resulted in an implementation disaster causing EI providers to absorb the increase in staffing without reimbursement, invest in parallel management systems to ensure the integrity of the data, and secure commercial lines of credit to manage cash flow.
The NJDOH, along with the designer of the software, Public Consulting Group (PCG), failed to pilot or beta test the software prior to State-wide implementation. In fact, they continued to build the system as part of their implementation which caused a complete melt-down of the system and its data in 2018 and 2019. As a result, most of the 50+ EI providers were on the brink of bankruptcy if it weren’t for the financial support of the Legislature which offered $44M in loans to support the continuation of services. It should be noted, that during these difficult times the provider agencies continued to serve each and every eligible child and their family throughout the State.
Parenthetical to this issue is the fact that representatives of NJDOH have agreed in concept that the damages are “real,” requested documentation from those EI providers that experienced hardships, and have collected this information for further action. The Department has also indicated that they too realized damages in the process having to bring on additional staff to manage the potential implosion of the delivery system. These requests for resolution to the damages have been well documented to the Department.