by jerry on May 09, 2021
In a vein similar to an earlier piece about the current California governor awarding a no-contract bid to Blue Shield to distribute vaccines, Kaiser Health News published another piece reporting on a number of other decisions whose optics look bad. Safesforce, whose CEO is a repeat donor to the governor's campaigns, helped create California's "vaccine clearinghouse" which has already cost the state $93 million. I am familiar with the scheduling portal functionality, although I do not know how much non-patient facing functionality was built into the site; nevertheless, a price tag close to $100 million seems very steep.
An interesting take from the author of the piece is that the governor seems to prefer partnering with private corporations rather than investing in the state's public health infrastructure. Notably, before the pandemic, the governor denied local health departments' request for $50 million per year "to help rebuild core public health infrastructure." Public health leaders seemingly bemoan the channeling of public dollars into private corporations instead of buttressing public health departments. On one hand, this point seems very reasonable: instead of giving private corporations the money and being unsure of any lasting benefit to the services provided, the state could have built out its own infrastructure. On the other hand, government agencies are not known for moving quickly, and building technology infrastructure might have taken them too long in a circumstance that required speed. If the state had funneled the funds into its own infrastructure and the public health departments were unable to deliver, there would certainly be people criticizing the government taking the opportunity to enlarge its own empire without doing what is expedient.