Report: Health Official May Have Deleted Some Emails

Image: Report: Health Official May Have Deleted Some Emails CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner. (Micheal Reynolds/EPA/Landov)

Friday, 08 Aug 2014 09:36 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has notified the National Archives and Records Administration that CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner may have deleted some emails legally required to be preserved, according to The Hill.

In an Aug. 6 letter to the National Archives and Record Administration from Kathleen Cantwell, a CMS records management official, she writes that it appears that "most, but not all" of Tavenner’s emails were saved, per federal law, but that there’s a "possibility" some were not.

The CMS letter was a preemptive alert arising from the House Oversight Committee’s investigation into problems with last year’s Obamacare rollout, according to The Hill. It comes in the wake of the scandal involving former IRS official Lois Lerner and her "lost" emails as the result of a purported computer crash.

An administration official speaking to Reuters on the condition of anonymity said the missing emails are likely the result of "sloppy record keeping."

Tavenner, whose email address is public and often contacted by advocacy groups, reportedly receives between 10,000 and 12,000 emails per month, according to MSNBC, which reported that Tavenner regularly deleted emails after copying or forwarding them to her staff for retention in order to stay below the agency’s Microsoft Outlook email size limit. There were times, however, she did not follow that procedure and "it is possible that some emails may not be available," Cantwell wrote.

The agency has spent in excess of 23,000 staff hours on the project and already turned over 135,000 pages in response to a subpoenas issued by House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, who is investigating Healthcare.gov’s trouble-plagued launch, according to MSNBC.

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