State keeps software vendor contract details under wraps

As it deals with the fallout from last week’s COVID-19 vaccine scheduling fiasco, Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration is not saying how much taxpayer money it has agreed to pay the Maryland-based software company that accepted “full responsibility for the problem.”

The state’s COVID-19 Command Center has not acknowledged News Service requests Friday or Monday for the terms of the contract between the state and PrepMod, an offshoot of the Maryland Partnership For Prevention and Multi-State Partnership for Prevention that says it is “the state’s biggest online appointment vendor.”

Heavy traffic torpedoed the state’s vaccination scheduling system last Thursday as about one million more people became eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. After hours of frustrating attempts, about 60,000 people were able to book an appointment for this week.

“We were very displeased with the performance by PrepMod,” Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said Friday on WBZ-TV after the Baker administration shared a statement from the company in which it accepted blame for the problem.

It is unclear exactly when Massachusetts began using PrepMod, but the state’s interim vaccination plan released in mid-October said the Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences within the Department of Public Health had “purchased the PrepMod System, a software product for health departments and other providers to use when conducting satellite, temporary, or off-site vaccination clinics that will connect to the [Massachusetts Immunization Information System] for real-time reporting. Rollout and training for the PrepMod System is currently underway.”

A search of the comptroller’s office’s state spending database, which is updated daily, produced no hits in 2020 or 2021 for PrepMod or its parent organizations. DigBoston reported Monday that the contract between Pennsylvania and PrepMod is available online and shows that the Keystone State paid $852,000 for the software.

(Copyright (c) 2020 State House News Service.