HHS begins switch to new financial management system

HHS begins switch to new financial management system

The Health and Human Services Department will go live with its new centralized financial management system this week at the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The HHS Unified Financial Management System will replace five accounting systems in use at the FDA, CDC, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Program Support Center, which provides financial accounting and reporting services for the remaining seven HHS agencies.

"We have one of the most complex accounting systems in the federal government, one that must administer over a half-trillion-dollar budget spread across more than 300 programs in 11 agencies," HHS secretary Tommy Thompson said Friday. 'The UFMS program will change the way we do business.'

The UFMS program is designed to improve financial, business and operational functions across the department, including budget execution, accounts payable and receivable, purchasing, grants management and payroll activities, and accelerate the process of financial reporting.

"This program will be the single largest civilian financial system in the world," said Kerry Weems, HHS principal deputy assistant secretary for budget, technology and finance. The full UFMS system, which is built on Oracle's 11i Federal Financials, is expected to be operational at CDC and FDA in April 2005. HHS will roll out the system incrementally at the other agencies, with the entire department operating with UFMS by 2007. It will cost about $700 million.

The first version of the system will handle general ledger functions, posting debits and credits in payroll transactions, at FDA and CDC.

CMS and its Medicare contractors will implement a separate component of UFMS, the Healthcare Integrated General Ledger Accounting System, to handle all Medicare-related financial management activities. CMS plans to go live with this system by early 2005.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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