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Policy: Entitlements

Failed health exchange has failed partner project

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Associated Press,Oregon,Health Care,Entitlements,Technology

PORTLAND, Ore. — An internal Department of Human Services presentation shows a troubled vendor's information technology modernization project is far behind schedule.

The Oregonian newspaper obtained a copy of the presentation, which illustrated the problems with the system created by Oracle Corp., the newspaper reported.

It's the second troubled project between the state and Oracle. The first, Cover Oregon, was scrapped Friday after the state sunk $250 million into the failed health care exchange.

The modernization project, named Oregon Benefits Online, or OBO, would allow Oregonians to electronically apply for food stamps and other benefits including Medicaid, employment-related daycare subsidies and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

But Oracle missed an October deadline, and a recent Department of Human Services review shows it's only 11 percent complete.

About $71 million has been spent on the project, with $48 million going to Oracle.

"Our analysis concluded the OBO system did not meet the master scope and it appears extensive customization would need to occur," the reviewers said in the PowerPoint presentation delivered recently and obtained by the newspaper.

The review found about 11 percent of the project is done; 29 percent is partially complete; and 60 percent of the work fails to meet the needs.

In a prepared statement, Department of Human Services Director Erinn Kelley-Siel said her team is mulling the best path forward regarding the modernization project.

"DHS is still evaluating its options and its potential next steps," Kelly-Seil said. "At this time, there is no estimated date for completion of that evaluation."

In a prepared statement, Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger said the firm "will continue to support the State in providing long term solutions for Oregonians, and to assist with its ongoing health care modernization efforts."

Oregon and Oracle are now pointing fingers of blame at one another and quietly preparing their litigation strategies.

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