One of the biggest licensing and enforcement software contracts in history —California’s $52 million, 9-year implementation of an Accenture system known as BreEZe—has been so plagued with failures and delays that state lawmakers are calling for an audit of the technology upgrade. On July 1, the state Joint Legislative Audit Committee will consider a request by state Assemblywoman Kristin Olsten to order a review of the system, which kept thousands of California nursing school graduate license applications on hold for months. While the backlog has been cleared up, Olsen says an audit should help strengthen the state’s procedures for purchasing and implementing new technology systems for state agencies.
Before implementing the BreEze system, nursing candidates could expect a six to eight-week wait for their licensing application to be processed. However, after the BreEZe system failures, board staff was forced to manually enter applicant information, increasing this wait time to as many as three months. These delays affected not only the nursing candidates–many of whom lost potential jobs or saw large holdups in being able to start their first nursing jobs – but also put a strain on many hospitals, who struggled to arrive at the mandated nurse-to-patient ratios. As a result, the delay is estimated to have cost medical centers in California millions of dollars in the first quarter of the year, as they were forced to hire traveler or temporary nurses instead of nursing program graduates.
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