PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The state has extended an agreement with the company that designed the problem-plagued computer system for Rhode Island benefits programs.

The contract was extended Monday, one week after the company, Deloitte Consulting, apologized for botching the job.

Deloitte will continue working on the program, known as the Unified Health Infrastructure Project, or UHIP, through March 2019. The contract would have expired in October 2018.

The extension was first reported by The Providence Journal.

The system was designed to handle applications for benefits including food stamps and Medicaid. It has been plagued with problems since the state launched it in 2016, despite warnings from the federal government that it wasn’t ready.

The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union sued the state, saying it had failed to process food stamp applications and issue benefits within the time frames mandated by the federal government. They reached a settlement, and the court appointed a special master in November to ensure that Rhode Island residents receive food stamps on time.

Steven Brown, the chapter’s executive director, said Tuesday the ACLU believes the state can choose who it wants to fix the system, but it’s still Rhode Island’s burden to make timely payments.

“Our position is that the state is the one that has the responsibility for making sure qualified applicants get their benefits on time,” Brown said.

Eric Beane, the secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, said the state would continue to hold the company accountable. The company gave the state more than $80 million in credit last year.

Representatives from Deloitte apologized to lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee last week.

Rhode Island is still searching for a company to operate the system after March.


This story has been changed to correct the name of program to Unified Health Infrastructure Project, not Unified Health Infrastructure Program.