News : DiNapoli Rejects $21.6M Contract
Nov 8, 2011 -- State Controller Thomas DiNapoli's office has rejected a $21.6 million contract to create a call center for SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
Some of the services under the proposed contract with Eclipsys/Allscripts would have been provided from outside the country — and DiNapoli's team feared not enough was done to protect patient personal data.
A source close to the controller said DiNapoli expressed "surprise and shock" that there was a major effort to approve "a contract that would outsource work overseas with the amount of unemployment in the U.S."
SUNY Downstate Medical Center was informed of the decision to reject the contract late last week in a letter from Charlotte Breeyear, DiNapoli's director of contracts.
"Both state and federal law scrupulously protect the confidentiality of citizens' medical records," Breeyear wrote. "Our office is concerned that providing access to such personal data to an offshore call center would compromise patient confidentiality."
The proposed contract would be on top of an existing $28.2 million software deal signed between the hospital and Eclipsys in 2006.
The new deal would have expanded the software technology to Long Island College Hospital, which has merged with SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
SUNYDownstate Medical Centerspokesman Ron Najmansaid "we intend to work closely with the controller's office to fully address their concerns and, most importantly, to ensure patient confidentiality."
He added that the center's preference is to always use local resources.
In her rejection letter, Breeyear notes that even though Allscripts had acknowledged the "sensitivity" of using international resources, it only promised to use North American help "where available."
"We believe the first priority must be adequately addressing and resolving the risk of violating patient confidentiality."
She said given the importance of the contract, DiNapoli's office is prepared to discuss alternative solutions to offshore outsourcing.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Wednesday, November 09, 2011
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