Saturday, December 8, 2012

NEHTA Responds To Questions On Notice From The Recent Senate Estimates Committee. A Few Interesting Tit-bits.

Supplementary Senate Estimates were held Oct 17-19, 2012. The deadline for a response to the Questions that were placed on notice was December 7, 2012.
Here is the link to the answers provided by NETA
Here is what we were told:


National e-Health Transition Authority (NeHTA)
Budget Estimates 2012-13 October
OUTCOME 10.2: e-Health
Question: 1
Topic: Budget
Senator Boyce asked:
What is the complete budget for NEHTA for 2012/2013?
In regard to the COAG work program, NEHTA’s members have agreed to provide funding to NEHTA for 2012-13 of $66.85m. NEHTA also has carried over COAG funds of $28.40m. In addition to this, DOHA has funded NEHTA $4.5m to perform some ongoing operational support services. NEHTA expects to earn interest on its invested funds of approximately $3m.
In regard to the PCEHR Managing Agent responsibilities, as contracted to DOHA, NEHTA has approximately $63.14m in carried forward funds against future commitments.
Question: 6
Topic: IBM Contract
Senator Boyce asked:
It has been announced that the contract signed with IBM to complete the NASH as now been terminated. Did that contract contain penalty provisions for non-delivery? How much money has IBM already been paid? What percentage of the contract price will be lost or written off as a result of the contract termination.
The subject matter of the contract termination between IBM, NEHTA is currently under legal process and privilege applies.
Question: 7
Topic: NASH
Senator Boyce asked:
At the time the IBM contract was signed it was claimed by both NEHTA and DOHA that no one internally had the capacity to build a secure NASH but now with the termination of the IBM contract the work is now being done internally. It’s claimed that this ‘internal capability’ was not realised at the time. This sounds at the very least to be a costly error of judgement. Could you provide all internal documents that go to the reasons why IBM was chosen and why in your initial assessment your own internal teams lacked the capacity to build the NASH?
The documentation related to IBM, and the other unsuccessful bidders as requested is commercial-in-confidence and NEHTA is unable to provide it due to legal and commercial sensitivities.
It is now over 2 years since the NASH tender was released and both technology and the market have moved significantly over this time. This has provided NEHTA further opportunity to provide greater value add to the market with a fit for purpose product.
Question: 8
Topic: NASH
Senator Boyce asked:
What has changed in regard to their capacity from the time the IBM contract was signed and now? Can you please provide documentary proof to support your response?
The failure by IBM to deliver provided NEHTA with the opportunity to re-examine what was currently available.
Industry capabilities were not fully established when the contract was first let, but have been built and enhanced locally into secure, capable services in the meantime. The DHS solution has been able to leverage off the capability, together with their considerable technical capacity to offer a NASH solution.
Question: 9
Topic: NASH
Senator Boyce asked:
When will the NASH now be delivered?
A NASH certificate is available for healthcare organisations and individuals to support access to the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (eHealth Record) system and healthcare organisational certificates for Secure Message Delivery (SMD) via a compliant SMD product will be available now.
Further NASH functionality will progressively become available as required.
Question: 20
Topic: Hire Cars
Senator Boyce asked:
Could NEHTA provide details of total expenditure on hire cars in the last 12 months for all staff, contractors and clients?
Expenditure on hire cars is not differentiated within NEHTA’s book of accounts and is consolidated into ground transport costs. All ground transport costs have been incurred in accordance with the relevant NEHTA travel and expenditure policies and procedural guidelines. NEHTA’s policies allow for Hire Cars to be used from time to time where the circumstances dictate. Such circumstances include where other forms of ground transport are unreliable, where cost differences are minimal or productivity or confidentiality considerations apply.
Question: 21
Topic: Hire Cars
Senator Boyce asked:
Could NEHTA provide details of all hire car expenses occurring in Sydney for NEHTA staff in the last 12 months? That should include cost per trip, pick-up and set down details, dates of travel and passenger identification.
Refer to answer 20
----- End Responses.
So what we learn is that in 2012/13 NEHTA plans to spend of the order of $66.85m + $24.8m + $4.5m + $3.0m = $99.15m in operational funding.
This compares with $146M last year according to the recently released annual report.
PCEHR Outgoings are seen as being $63.14M for the year.
This is way down from the expenditure on the PCEHR to June 30, 2012 which was close to $500M over 2 years.
This is all consistent with a loss of close to ½ of NEHTA’s total headcount since June 30, 2012.
NEHTA seems to be saying that in two years technology has changed so NASH has had to be re-done and IBM has still not had resolution of the discussions.
I wonder what this radically new technology approach is? Suggestions welcome. Prima face it sounds like nonsense to me...
Hire Cars.
Good stonewalling effort!
Related but different we have an interesting report from the Department of Human Services.
Here is the direct link:
The topic is DHS Computer Outages. It seems there were 137 ICT Reliability Outages in the year to September 30, 2012. No wonder there are the odd problems with the HI Service.
Any comments on all this welcome.