In-Sourcing: two hyphenated words with the power to strike fear into the hearts of government contractors. While it’s true that at a basic level, in-sourcing means fewer jobs contracted out to private industry and therefore fewer contracting dollars, proponents say the news isn’t all bad. Here are some thoughts from local, recognizable leaders of government and industry on the subject:
- Congressman Gerry Connolly: “There are some functions, like acquisition, that are properly brought inside government, but in terms of other responsibilities and functions, frankly, I think they should be examined on a case-by-case basis…Bottom line: it's not a matter of theology.”
- Larry Prior, President and COO of ManTech International: “Government needs to re-badge. [The government] needs to bring talent in that does planning, budgeting, source selection, and acquisition management. They need to make sure, however, they can also execute on missions across every agency.“
- Congressman Jim Moran: “The acquisition process is inherently governmental. [The process] should not have been contracted out, so we are going to bring it back in. There are other functions that can far more efficiently be provided by the private sector and those will continue to be done in that way.”
- Shiv Krishnan of INDUS: “If the government starts converting contractors and hiring contractor positions from companies into government employees it creates a challenge in terms of these companies losing their employees and making them all government employees and the business is suffering.”
Latest Health IT Buzzword: “Meaningful Use”
Dr. David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health IT, plans to issue “meaningful use” requirements for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Health IT awards. “Meaningful use” has not been defined yet, but some leaders believe it to be acretive to implementation and interoperability. In other words, if it isn’t useful, it isn’t meaningful use. Here are some thoughts from local industry leaders:
- Krish Venkat of Congnizant’s Healthcare and Life Science practice offers: “stakeholders in this ecosystem should not view this as just a technology change for the sake of technology change. It is a fundamental change in terms of business processes, optimizing cost of care, avoiding duplications, easier exchange of information, and improving the quality of care.”
- Adam Clark of the Health IT Policy Committee said: “the definition is going to have to be broad enough to include small or even individual practices as well as large practices” and “adaptable to the primary care settings as well as specialty services.”
Government contractors should be seeing green, because the first “meaningful use” contract awards are coming, even though the standards haven’t been written yet. The Georgia Hospital Association (GHA) has awarded CSC a contract to help them meet “meaningful use“ standards to receive the federal incentive payments outlined in ARRA.
Check Your Desktop: The Government Might Already Be There
Glenn Beck reported on his Fox News show on July 31 that a disclaimer on the website for the federal government’s “Cash for Clunkers” program technically transfers ownership of the computer accessing the site to the federal government while connected to www.cars.gov. Don’t try this at home, because the warning reads “This application provides access to the DoT CARS system. When logged on to the CARS system, your computer is considered a Federal computer system and is the property of the U.S. Government.”
Also this week, the federal government announced a review of its policy on cookies, ostensibly to improve customer service on government websites. Vivek Kundra, federal CIO, and Michael Fitzpatrick of the OMB wrote in a blog post dated July 24 that the policy review is intended to improve customer service by allowing agencies to analyze how people use their sites and to remember visitors’ “data, settings or preferences.” But privacy advocates like EFF, EPIC, and the Center for Democracy and Technology have voiced their concerns. “Our primary concern is that the [Federal Government] has failed to protect the privacy rights of U.S. citizens,” said EPIC Executive Director Marc Rotenberg.
Twitter Goes Down on Anniversary of 2008 Russo-Georgian Conflict
Twitter shut down briefly on Thursday morning because of a massive denial-of-service attack (DDoS). The perpetrators are unknown, but suspects include Russian and Georgian sympathizers, since Thursday marks exactly one year since the Russian-Georgia conflict. LiveJournal and Facebook , also experienced similar attacks on Thursday morning. Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, released a statement on the site describing the downage as caused by “a single, massively coordinated attack.“ Then again, it might just be coincidence that the attacks on the wildly popular social networking sites occurred exactly one year after the border dispute.