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The home for VPR's coverage of health and health industry issues affecting the state of Vermont.

State Works To Improve Health Care Exchange

According to the Department of Vermont Health Access, in the past 3 days, more than 25,000 people have visited the Vermont Health Connect website and roughly 1,800 individuals have started the enrollment process to purchase coverage.

It is certainly not meeting our expectations at this point. We have teams working around the clock to make sure that we increase the speed to the extent that we expect - DVHA Commissioner Mark Larson

Commissioner Mark Larson says the website has experienced some software related delays and he says most of the problems associated with the front page of the website have been fixed.

“We continue to work on the speed for some of the pages that are further back,” said Larson. “It’s certainly not meeting our expectations at this point we have teams working around the clock to make sure that we increase the speed to the extent that we expect.”

Larson says the current problems are not necessarily related to the volume of general traffic at the website but with the number of people who are accessing a specific function at the same time.

“We think it’s about making sure that we get the configurations of the software correct so that it’s operating at a speed that Vermonters should expect,” said Larson.

And Larson says part of the difficulty is that the state didn’t have a lot of time to thoroughly test the entire system but he’s confident that the current glitches will be corrected very soon.

“Obviously there was something that we didn’t find. If we had had more time we would have done additional testing from the very beginning,” said Larson. “We knew we were operating on a very tight time line to get Vermont Health Connect up and running.”

Governor Peter Shumlin says creating the website was a huge technical challenge and that some “hiccups” were always expected. And the governor says the federal government didn’t give states much time to test their systems.

“We’re obviously all struggling to have perfect websites by October first,” said Shumlin. “ So we governors made the judgment lets go forward let’s open up, let’s ask our users to help us improve it as we go forward and that’s exactly what we are going to do.”

Because of software problems, individuals and small businesses won’t be able to electronically pay for their coverage on line until at least November first.

Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
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