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Tue Jun 13, 2017, 11:03 PM

Medicaid enrollment another troubled, expensive Oregon IT system

A project dubbed by one senior Oregon manager as "the most important information technology effort in the state" has been plagued by escalating costs, a bureaucratic turf battle and technical misfires.

The $166.7 million effort to automate Medicaid enrollment instead has led to delays for tens of thousands of Oregonians. The Oregon Health Authority spent three years developing the new system and has spent more than four times the initial contract.

The glitches mean the agency was dispensing billions in Medicaid payouts not knowing whether the recipients were sufficiently low-income to qualify. Nearly 300,000 have been kicked off the plan since March 2016, after the agency resumed verifying eligibility, state figures show.

Anxious Medicaid applicants flooded the state with as many as 120,000 calls a month as they waited to learn their status. While boosters of the technology said automation would reduce staffing costs, the Oregon Health Authority actually hired more than 600 full-time, temporary and contract employees to manually process applications and handle phone calls.

Read more: http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/06/medicaid_enrollment_another_tr.html

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