Cover Oregon vendor behind on another state project

Screenshot of the DHS/OHA modernization project website, April 28, 2014. (dhs.state.or.us)
Screenshot of the DHS/OHA modernization project website, April 28, 2014. (dhs.state.or.us)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – An internal Department of Human Services (DHS) presentation shows a troubled vendor’s information technology modernization project is far behind schedule.

First, California-based Oracle Corporation failed to create a functioning website for Cover Oregon, costing the state $250 million.

Now, state representatives say Oracle also failed to improve technology efficiency and access for the DHS website in 2011.

“That project was really designed to bring the social service program together under one umbrella. Sort of a one stop shop for people who have needs to go and sign up for services,” said Oregon State Representative Julie Parrish.

So far roughly $72 million of $142 million that was approved for the modernization of the website had been spent with $48 million going to Oracle, Parrish said.

Parrish said that amount of money is enough to fund two entire budgets for two school districts in the West Linn/Wilsonville community.

The modernization project was meant to 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 DHS review obtained by the Oregonian shows it’s only 11 percent complete.

In all, a quarter of a billion dollars has been spent on Oracle-led projects.

“I’m angry too, so I sympathize…the goal was can we get Oregonians healthcare?” said Parrish.

Parrish said she voted against using Oracle back in 2011, questioning the state’s ability to run such a large program.

DHS Director Erinn Kelley-Siel released the following statement in regard to the review’s findings:

“No development work is underway with Oracle on the DHS modernization project, and all development work was put on hold in Sept. 2013. DHS is still evaluating its options and its potential next steps. At this time, there is no estimated date for completion of that evaluation.”

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