PORTLAND, Ore. – In light of what we know now, Oct. 1, 2013 was not a good day to start toasting the success of Cover Oregon's website.
But making fun of other state's bumpy launches?
A new batch of emails uncovered by the On Your Side Investigators give a front-row seat to the first day of the website's historic failure.
The emails sent to and from the woman who was in charge of building the Cover Oregon website suggest everyone from state leaders to project managers to the software vendor powering the project was oblivious to the scope of the website’s failure on the day it was supposed to launch.
The governor sent out a letter congratulating all involved on a mission accomplished.
Contractor Oracle began discussing plans for a post-launch world and sent a cheeky email pointing out problems other states were experiencing with their own launches.
And since-resigned Oregon Health Authority CIO Carolyn Lawson fielded glowing congratulations from all corners.
Though leaders had said the site wouldn't be fully functional Oct. 1, many involved insist they were led to believe it would work right up until it didn't.
Here’s how the day unfolded.
7:51 a.m.: The day begins with two messages from Oracle to Lawson – both are, in retrospect, cringe-inducing.
The first is a copy of a PowerPoint she had used a week earlier at an Oracle conference. It’s title? “Oregon’s Transformative Leadership In Health and Human Services.”
The second is an email from an Oracle sales manager.
“Sending positive vibes your way for go-live in Oregon!” it reads. “You are making such a difference for the citizens of Oregon.”
9 a.m.: Lawson sends a note to her friend Miriam Paramore, who was named one of Deloitte’s Women to Watch in Healthcare.
“We are ready for the soft launch,” Lawson writes. “We may not open to the public in 2 weeks, it may take 3 because we now have 3000 assisters. We expected in the neighborhood of 200. We need to get all of them up and going (accounts, training) first.
"We know there will be glitches, but we don't think there will be anything which is a show stopper.”
9:11 a.m.: Lawson gets a link from an Information Week reporter to an article called “How Oregon Got it Done.”
11:24 a.m.: The mood turns from cautious celebration to full-on schadenfreude when an Oracle director sends out a gleeful email detailing the problems other states are having with their launches.
“Thought you guys would appreciate this…” writes Donna-Mae Shyduik
2:40 p.m.: Gov. John Kitzhaber and then-OHA director Bruce Goldberg send out a thank-you letter to the whole team, which Lawson asks to be forwarded to Oracle and the Office of Information Systems.
2:51 p.m.: The governor’s thank-you letter is followed almost immediately by the first sign of trouble. “We have been experiencing periodic spikes in database volumes today that is having an impact on POS (point of sale – insurance agents) claim processing,” writes Richard Holsapple. “The spikes are causing some POS transactions to time out.”
4:40 p.m.: Lawson writes to Hamza Jahangir, Oracle practice director for enterprise architecture.
“As far as day 1 is concerned, we are doing well,” she writes. “A couple of bumps and lots of work still to do, but right where we expected to be.
“Lots going on so I have to run.”
4:46 p.m.: Lawson personally forwards the governor’s thank-you to “the Oracle leadership who has been so supportive of our efforts.”
Oracle writes back: “This is great for the teams. They are really energized.”
The next day, Oracle requests a forward-looking meeting to discuss “a post-implementation update and review of upcoming projects.”
This is an early look at a large batch of emails obtained by the On Your Side Investigators. We’ll have more in the days ahead.
Full coverage of the troubled Cover Oregon website:
- KATU investigation finds Oracle shares blame with Cover Oregon for website disaster
- Panel recommends Oregon move to federal health exchange
- Oracle says it's not to blame for failed launch of Cover Oregon
- No decision on future of Cover Oregon but options narrowed to two
- Report: Federal exchange cheapest fix for Cover Oregon
- Cover Oregon goes to Congress, defends work that's been done
- Cover Oregon invites public to once-secret oversight meetings
- Top Cover Oregon IT official resigns
- Cover Oregon: Apply for insurance in April and avoid federal penalty
- Cover Oregon makes secret meetings public, won't explain the change
- Secret Cover Oregon oversight meetings may violate public meetings law
- Cover Oregon announces $1 million ad blitz to raise awareness
- Months later, Gresham woman still wondering if she has health insurance
- Portland tech company to governor: We can fix Cover Oregon's website
- State granted one-month extension for Cover Oregon enrollment
- First Data report: Cover Oregon didn't have federally required backup plan
- Watch: Your Voice Your Future Town Hall: Cover Oregon
- Cover Oregon confessions: Are they playing games with your health?
- New report answers many Cover Oregon questions - often for second time
- Cover Oregon directory Goldberg resigns; Governor releases investigation findings
- Cover Oregon: Still pushing for deadline extension
- Oregon tied for last in nation for young-adult health-insurance sign-ups
- Cover Oregon: Apply now if you want health insurance this year
- Federal government announces Cover Oregon investigation
- Former Cover Oregon director says 'all of us' share blame for failures
- Top Cover Oregon official refuses to discuss Lawson resignation
- Official: Oracle not allowing Cover Oregon probe access to 6 employees
- Trouble with Cover Oregon? You may still get federal tax credits
- Cover Oregon website developer pulls 100 worker off project
- Ex-Cover Oregon website chief: 'I stuck to the talking points ... they were not accurate'
- High-level IT consultant on Cover Oregon: 'They didn't know what they were doing'
- New Cover Oregon allegations: 'If it's true, someone's going to prison.'
- Paging Dr. Kitzhaber: What did the governor know about Cover Oregon collapse?
- State rep., U.S. Senate candidate calls for the end of Cover Oregon
- Cover Oregon head: State might scrap all or part of failing website
- State lawmakers to grill Cover Oregon chief
- Family struggles to sign up for insurance through Cover Oregon
- First legal complaint filed over health enrollment mistakes
- Democratic state lawmaker believes Cover Oregon can be saved
- Contractor plans to examine why Cover Oregon failed
- 'We look like fools:' A history of Cover Oregon's failure
- State rep: Ditch Cover Oregon in favor of federal exchange
- Video: Exclusive Interview: Gov. John Kitzhaber - Cover Oregon 1/9/2014
- Gov. denies prior knowledge of Cover Oregon failure, exits exclusive KATU interview
- Kitzhaber outlines Cover Oregon's next steps: 'I can't give you a date'
- Kitzhaber: Firm will review Cover Oregon failures
- Cover Oregon applications left in limbo?
- Man with cancer waiting on Cover Oregon, gets insured
- Man with cancer still waiting on Cover Oregon
- New calls for Cover Oregon to take responsibility for project failures
- Rocky King, director of troubled Cover Oregon, resigns
- Salem man says Cover Oregon error left him in health care limbo
- Some question if they'll be covered by Cover Oregon in the new year
- What doomed Cover Oregon? 'Mismanagement,' say former employees
- After resigning, Lawson not talking about Cover Oregon website failures
- Ore. health official in charge of building Cover Oregon website resigns
- Fewer enrollments challenge Oregon exchange budget
- Executive director of Cover Oregon taking medical leave
- Cover Oregon considers new solutions
- Kitzhaber calls for independent review of Cover Oregon
- New emails show Cover Oregon unraveling in days before launch
- Emails: Cover Oregon executive knew about website problems in May
- Cover Oregon complicated by state's grand vision