Health and Human Services’ Civil Rights Division Looks to Overhaul Its Essential IT System

The Health and Human Services Department's Office of Civil Rights is preparing to overhaul its central IT system.

The Health and Human Services Department's Office of Civil Rights is preparing to overhaul its central IT system. Photo by Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The agency filed a request for information to replace its 20-year old Program Information Management System for a new, modernized system to better manage filed discrimination or violation complaints.

The Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Civil Rights filed a request for information on Monday seeking recommendations and solutions to replace its legacy Program Information Management System, or PIMS—the system that controls all of OCR’s activities for complaints, reviews and correspondences about discrimination or rights violations—with a “new, modernized system to manage and track OCR activities and be the system of record.” 

OCR makes sure that individuals receiving HHS-funded program services are not unlawfully discriminated against, that providers and others can exercise their conscience rights and individuals have the right to access their health information and trust the privacy and security of this information. OCR’s current PIMS integrates the office’s various business processes such as compliance activities, correspondence tracking and records management, among other things.

However, the current PIMS is 20 years old and utilizes “outdated and/or end of life technologies,” which are “extremely expensive to maintain and cumbersome to use,” as noted in the request. 

As a result, OCR is looking to replace its current PIMS with a new, modernized system to manage and track its activities. According to the request, this will help improve user efficiency and utilize the latest technology in addition to still being flexible to accommodate business changes.

HHS seeks for the new service provider to support all parts of the new PIMS system within OCR, such as the migration of more than two terabytes of data to the new system, as well as highly trained and skilled workers—namely, consultants and analysts.

The project will update OCR’s PIMS with up-to-date technology and software and create an environment where workers can use the new system “to process cases from beginning to end, storing all data with prescribed regulations and providing a robust platform for reporting and analyzing data.”

The requested solution should include: 

  • Systems configuration services so the new system automates OCR’s business processes and provides continued flexibility with minimal or no custom development. 
  • Data migration services to move data from the old PIMS to the new PIMS and to clean data for inconsistencies. 
  • Project management services under the guidance of OCR and using the HHS Enterprise Performance Life Cycle framework and best practices.
  • Implementation support services, such as conducting a pilot and updating based on these results to deploy the new system and provide post-deployment support as well as staff training and transitioning support.

In the request, OCR further explained the components and requirements for the sought-after solution. For example, the new PIMS should have public websites for the public to submit data to review, an online complaint form, an online breach filing form and reporting site and an assurance of compliance form. The modernized PIMS should also automate the interface between the case management and the secretary’s policy system, create a new FOIA system interface, track materials sent to OCR and utilize outreach functionality. There are also requirements for a reporting system, data cleanup, security and privacy, as well as project, scope, quality, communications and risk management. HHS provided specific requirements for each of the aforementioned areas for the new PIMS.

Responses are due Jan. 9, 2023.