WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- The consulting firm selected last month to take over the maintenance of Healthcare.gov has faced a slew of questions over its practices and its record.
Accenture, which was tapped by the Obama administration to take over the $91 million Affordable Care Act contract for one year, has been criticized by both federal officials and private interests over "troubled projects and allegations of ethical lapses."
A report by the Washington Post highlighted some 30 Accenture projects over the past decade that have run into problems, including failure to meet cost targets and technical failures.
A June memo from the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General's Office that said Accenture "demonstrated an absence of business ethics" while under more than $200 million in contracts, and cited a $63 million payout to the Justice Department in 2011 in a settlement over "kickbacks and bid-rigging" in federal contracts.
According to the report, students and faculty at the University of Michigan are protesting the school's decision to hire Accenture to cut costs after a report by an alumni and graduate student committee found the firm had "a disturbing pattern of problematic past performance."
And an Accenture-operated computer system has been blamed for huge backlogs for food-stamp recipients in North Carolina.
But the administration said the Ireland-based company, which pulls in $28 billion in annual revenue and works with more than three-quarters of the Fortune 500 companies, is "uniquely qualified" for the ACA contract.
“Accenture was selected to help us maintain the site’s high performance and make important enhancements as we prepare for next year’s open-enrollment period," said Tasha Bradley, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services.