Independent investigation of Cover Oregon to be released Thursday

Independent investigation of Cover Oregon to be released Thursday »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. – The independent review of Cover Oregon will be released Thursday, Gov. John Kitzhaber’s office announced Wednesday.

Kitzhaber has said he's relying on the results of the10-week review to show who misled government officials about Cover Oregon's progress. The state's online health exchange hasn't worked for the public since it first launched in October 2013.  

Results of the report, done by a company called First Data, will be released at a press conference at 11 a.m. in Salem. Until then, the state and the governor’s office is keeping the report locked down. KATU News contacted several lawmakers, who are all anxious to see it, but who said they haven’t seen it yet.

Kitzhaber announced on Jan. 9, 2014 that he took action and hired First Data to get answers about the rocky rollout of the state’s health insurance exchange website. That was after KATU News started asking tough questions it.

That was also the same day he told KATU reporter Hillary Lake he didn't know the website was broken until the very month it was supposed to go live.

"Well, I knew about the problems, in late October is when I first heard about the problems,” said Kitzhaber.

Now the state is spending $228,000 in taxpayer dollars to have First Data answer questions like:

  • Who first realized the website wouldn't be ready by Oct. 1, and when did they realize it?
  • Who made decisions about the project?
  • What was the basic oversight and accountability?

First Data combed through 3,000 documents and interviewed 67 key people involved with the website from start to launch. Those people included Rocky King, Cover Oregon’s former executive director; Dr. Bruce Goldberg, interim executive director; Carolyn Lawson, former Chief Information Officer for the Oregon Health Authority; and Governor Kitzhaber.

The governor believes this report will make it clear who misled him about Cover Oregon's collapse.

Remember though, KATU’s reporting has shown the governor's office should have received more than a dozen reports and red-flags that the website was at risk of failure months before it did.

There are two big road blocks in the First Data investigation. Oracle, the software company that built the Cover Oregon website, wouldn't allow six of its employees to be interviewed. Instead, they made a senior staffer available, who First Data didn't request.

The scope of the investigation, according to the contract First Data has with the state, only focused on state involvement with the website. Yet, KATU has raised questions about misspent federal money and if Cover Oregon leaders submitted fake progress reports to the feds. Questions about those issues were not included in the contract.

It's unclear what the next steps are once the First Data report is released on Thursday.


Full coverage of the troubled Cover Oregon website: