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Legal battle ensues during creation of Maryland health care site

In a situation that's beginning to reflect the troubles with Healthcare.gov at the national level, a legal battle has begun between companies working on the Maryland state health care website. Noridian Healthcare Solutions is the company that was awarded the $51.4 million contract for implementing, developing and designing the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange site. The site went up for open enrollment on Oct. 1 and has not exactly been working perfectly, despite over 4,600 people using the site to enroll in health care plans since it went live. Users have reported technical issues making it difficult to create an account or find certain information. Some consumers have also reported problems locating the Spanish-language application.

These technical glitches have led to business litigation issues between Noridian and one of its sub-contractors, a Fort Lauderdale software firm known as EngagePoint. Noridian removed EngagePoint from the project on Oct. 25, and EngagePoint responded by working with the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court to file a temporary restraining order. This restraining order prevents Noridian from hiring, seeking to hire, or soliciting any employees of EngagePoint.

A counterclaim filed by Noridian on Oct. 30 states that EngagePoint has obstructed the implementation of the website by failing to provide requested data, information and documentation that would allow the project to run smoothly. The claim, filed in the Baltimore U.S. District Court, states that EngagePoint is under breach of contract for its repeated unsatisfactory performance and cooperation. A spokesperson for EngagePoint defended the work they've done in Maryland, and a mediation conference will be held on Dec. 18.

The creation of the Healthcare.gov site triggered the need for many health care marketplace websites at the state level. However, it's becoming more and more clear that there have been problems with the development of this system all over the U.S. The bungling of many of these sites will no doubt lead to legal action in other states.


Source: 
capitalgazette.com, "Company creating Maryland health care website faces legal challenge from subcontractor" Jack Lambert, Nov. 14, 2013

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