Skip to comments.Federal Report Faults Cover Oregon, Oracle (Obamacare Website)
Posted on 03/13/2014 12:21:05 PM PDT by steve86
PORTLAND - A federal government report on Oregon's botched health insurance exchange faults the state's main information technology contractor for not providing key information to Cover Oregon and blames the exchange for lax management.
The review by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says Cover Oregon lacks oversight over the project and has limited visibility into Oracle Corp.'s work. Thus far, the state has paid Oracle more than $90 million for building the exchange.
The report, dated February 27th, recommends that Cover Oregon "identify a more appropriate" IT vendor.
Cover Oregon spokesman Michael Cox said the report is dated and the exchange has addressed its findings.
Oracle declined to comment.
I believe it is only very recently the Oregon Exchange website has started enrolling anyone, the vast majority of enrollments having been through paper forms.
It’s always the contractor’s fault, and never the bureaucrats’.
Here’s a longer, more interesting article, also dated today:
Well, according to the second article the exchange isn’t open to the public even now, so it can’t be enrolling anyone.
The report offers a withering critique of both Oracle and Cover Oregon
The Governor (Kitzhaber) and the former Oregon Health Authority Chief Information Technology Officer, Carolyn Lawson, both got MONTHLY Maximus reports on the Cover Oregon website in the 2 years leading up to its continued failure today to even enroll a single person without the State manually completing applications. Fail.
The HIX-IT project update included a risk assessment from the exchange's quality assurance contractor, MAXIMUS.They even fabricated an audit that alleged to fix 19 issues but never once faulted Oracle...only Maximus, as nobody seemed to trust their (prescient) reports warning of problems.
Its assessors had already determined that:
The Cover Oregon website may not be ready in time
The project suffered from instability due to staffing shortages and people leaving the project
OHA, DHS, and Cover Oregon were operating without any accountability.
Control of the HIX-IT project shifted to the semi- autonomous Cover Oregon corporation in May 2013 earlier than expected because Lawson had burned through all of her funding: a $48 million 'early innovator' grant the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare services had awarded Oregon back in 2011 ...).
Last February, the power players behind Cover Oregon held an emotional meeting.Recall the details of Carolyn Lawson (also at the long, detailed article at the above link):
The job of building the complicated website was spinning out of control, and infighting was rampant.
The issues discussed were both deep and wide-ranging: Everything from transparency to quality assessment to a lack of trust among coworkers was on the agenda.
In attendance were Oregon Health Authority CIO Carolyn Lawson; Lawsons deputy Steven Powell; interim state CIO Julie Pearson; Pearson's deputy Sean McS Cover Oregon director Rocky King; principal legislative analyst Bob Cummings; Cover Oregon CIO Aaron Karjala; Department of Administration Services CIO Ying Kwong; and a representative from quality-assurance contractor Maximus.
The meeting was so intense that once source said Lawson the woman in charge of building the website - cried through most of it.
When the meeting was over, the group created a report of everything that had been hashed out 19 issues in all.
Tucked away on page four of that list is a brief item labeled Oracle Contract Issues. It touches on contracts and accounting the state used with Oracle the vendor hired to provide much of the websites software and technical support that were inconsistent with generally acceptably industry best practice procedures.
Here's where things get interesting.
The report goes on to say the issue was resolved, citing an audit by the Secretary of States office that found everything in order.
But the KATU On Your Side Investigators have learned that that audit the only piece of evidence used to dismiss major accountability problems surrounding a contract that eventually grew to $119 million - doesnt exist.
Lawson was originally scheduled to deliver a ready-to-go website to Cover Oregon in June 2013. Instead, she was forced to hand over the site three months early because $16 million had been misallocated, compounding the problems of a website that was already in deep trouble.
And thats not the only IT project formerly under Lawsons care that has experienced severe budget problems.
She also was put in charge of the ongoing modernization of the Department of Human Services IT systems.
When she took over, that project which was meant to tie in with Cover Oregon and other state entitlements in a one-stop-shopping online portal had a budget of $14.5 million and an estimated completion date of June 2011.
Today, the budget has ballooned to $56.1 million and its already gone well beyond that budget with actual spending of $60.8 million. The project is now scheduled to be finished in June 2017 six years late.
That project has also contracted Oracle.
Lawson, who has close long-term ties to Oracle, was investigated by the state of California before she came to Oregon for funneling money to companies with which she was friendly.
In 2008, she was hired as CIO for the California Public Utilities Commission. Within a few months, she was investigated by the state for improperly awarding about a half-million dollars to a company owned by Steven Powell, a former supervisor whom she later brought with her when she moved to Oregon.
The investigation found that she had, in fact, awarded the contracts in violation of state regulations.
You all forget: Governor Kitzhaber is running for a 3rd Term.
Carolyn Lawson has 'fled the state' to California...
Thanks, more interesting yet.