August 7, 2020

Behind Oregon’s jobless benefits computer disaster

GL Solutions’ weekly newsletter features a brief roundup of notable regulatory news and information from around the country:

Fired official says KY dragged feet on data breach: The fired former director of Kentucky’s unemployment office, Muncie McNamara, claims officials responded slowly to a data breach, allowing some people to view other people’s sensitive information. McNamara, according to, testified to a panel of lawmakers that officials at the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet responded slowly to reports of the April breach. “Generally speaking, this whole situation has added insult to injury in so much we have so many folks across the commonwealth who have waited great lengths of time to receive their unemployment benefits,” said Rep. Savannah Maddox, R-Dry Ridge.

Behind Oregon’s jobless benefits computer disaster: The Oregonian newspaper in Portland explores the chain of events and decisions that left the state’s employment department with an antiquated computer system that collapsed this year under the strain of coronavirus-related claims. The state had plenty of money to build a new system, had known for a decade about the legacy system’s problems, but failed to act anyway. The catastrophe, according to The Oregonian, “illustrates how difficult it is for Oregon agencies to adopt new technologies, even when the consequences of not acting will be severe.”

RI daycare owner arrested for public-funds fraud:
Rhode Island state police arrested the owner of Bambini Academy in Cranston for fraudulently collecting Child Care Assistance Payments (CCAP) from the Department of Human Services. According to WJAR in Providence, an audit showed the owner collected money for children who never attended or were oftentimes absent.

SC nurses allowed to work without licenses:
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation approved a temporary order to allow nursing graduates to work in health care facilities during the pandemic—before they are licensed. Acting director of DHEC Marshall Taylor explained that the joint order with the State Board of Nursing helps ensure the availability of nurses during the current health crisis, according to WLTX, News19.

NY driving schools go virtual:
According to Albany, New York’s, WNYT, driving schools in the state got the green light to offer virtual versions of the five-hour pre-licensing program. The coronavirus pandemic prevents driving schools from offering that program in-person. Some driving school owners expressed concern with the distance learning format.

Old computers limit disease tracking in MA:
Amid recent COVID-19 outbreaks, local health leaders in Massachusetts are pushing the state to improve methods for tracking disease, according to the Boston Globe. One of the hurdles: The antiquated computer system that connects health departments with the disease database wasn’t designed to handle pandemics.

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