State IT vendor donates laptops to libraries – Burlington Free Press – BurlingtonFreePress.com
The contractor hired to fix Vermont Health Connect is donating 45 refurbished laptops to five public libraries in the state.
Optum, a subsidiary of United Health Care, worked with Vermont Library Director Abby Noland to select libraries with the greatest need and available space.
The laptops will serve about 82,000 patrons combined at the five libraries: Rutland Free Library, Aldrich Public Libary in Barre, Essex Free Library, Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro, and Cobleigh Public Library in Lyndon.
“Vermont has made it a priority to connect residents to the Internet regardless of their geographic locations or income,” said State Librarian Martha Reid in a statement. “Libraries are vital community information centers, and part of their mission is to provide their patrons with health education and information, which increasingly becoming Web-based. We are grateful to Optum for this generous donation, which will allow greater citizen access to the wealth of information online.”
The gift is part of an Optum donation program that serves all of the states where the contractor does business.
“Because of the importance of libraries to the community fabric throughout Vermont, we felt our contribution would have the greatest impact if we partnered with libraries,” said Matt Stearns, Optum vice president of external communications.
The laptops are surplus computers that were either rotated out when Optum employees received new ones or no longer meet the company’s technology needs, said Optum spokesman Steve Puleo.
Optum worked with Reid’s office to determine geographic and demographic locations whether patrons needed laptops and were space allowed for storage of the computers.
Rutland will receive its laptops at a ceremony at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the library. The goal is to deliver the laptops to the other libraries by early fall, Puleo said.
Ann Paietta, director of Essex Free Library, said that library’s nine laptops from Optum will be used largely for outreach to older people. The library offers computer literacy classes and plans to take the classes to assisted living centers Paietta said.
“A lot of older people want to be involved with their grandchildren,” Paietta said. “We can show them how to Skype with their grandchildren.
“Some older people don’t even have emails, and you can’t even communicate with some companies without email,” the Essex library director said.
The state hired Optum last year to fix a function on the health insurance marketplace that would allow automatic updates to customer account information such as a change of address. Technology failures on the health care exchange website had caused a backlog of tens of thousands of account changes, which had to be manually entered. Optum met a May 31 deadline to fix the automatic update function.
The contactor’s next task is to automate the website’s renewal process by an October deadline.
This story was first posted online July 27, 2015. Contact Paris Achen at 802-660-1874 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her at www.twitter.com/parisachen and https://www.facebook.com/ColTrends.