Assemblymember Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) issued a statement supporting the Joint Legislative Budget Committee’s decision denying the Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) request for an additional $17.5 million in funds.
The request in additional funds reflects a project cost of nearly three times the original estimate and increases the project scope for a total of $96 million for their online BreEZe State licensing program. According to the Committee, DCA provided insufficient information regarding why the increases were needed, prompting a call for the DCA’s long term project plan and allocation of project costs, specifically relating to how funds would be distributed and how licensing costs would be affected for each entity.
“I am pleased to hear that the Joint Legislative Budget Committee has chosen to deny any additional funding allocations to the Department of Consumer Affairs until they can testify before the committee in person later this year,” said Olsen.
DCA’s BreEZe system is geared toward taking many licensing application forms from paper-based processing to an online system. The system gives users the opportunity to apply for or renew licenses and pay online, track the status of requests, submit address changes and obtain proof of renewal status.
Currently, the system is charged with processing requests for the Board of Registered Nursing, Medical Board of California, Board of Behavioral Sciences, Board of Psychology, Osteopathic Medical Board, Board of Podiatric Medicine, Respiratory Care Board, Naturopathic Medicine Board, Physician Assistant Board and the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology. Two additional phases are scheduled to include more entities that require State licensing, one in March 2016 including an additional eight agencies, and the remaining 19 are still to be determined.
“I am hopeful that the budget hearings will provide the Legislature with the information it needs to help this project get on track, so that licensees and consumers can begin to rely on the new system as quickly as possible,” said Olsen.
In the past four years, according to the State Auditor’s report on the program, over 180 concerns were raised by the project oversight agency, the California Department of Technology, regarding project management, staffing, system requirements and vendor performance; despite issues no intervention was made and the project continued. The Board of Registered Nursing raised concern over the program, stating that maximum time frames for processing were being exceeded since the implementation of BreEZe and other licensing agencies expressed general dissatisfaction for the program.
“In light of the inexcusable issues with the planning and implementation of the BreEZe system that caused months-long backlogs for state licensees, we must keep a critical eye on this department to ensure that, moving forward, the right decisions are made at the right time,” said Olsen.
A copy of the letter from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee to the Department of Finance can be found here.
Olsen, along with Assemblymember Adam Gray (D-Merced), will continue to work on a bill addressing legislative recommendations made in the State Auditor’s report on DCA’s implementation of BreEZe, which was released earlier this month.