A push to modernize the licensing and credentialing process with a new software vendor has encountered several problems, including an outage causing licensing delays at the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority and problems tracking continuing education credits at the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training.
The vendor, Thentia, could not be reached for comment. Emails to media and sales accounts were returned as undeliverable. The Office of Management and Enterprise Services, which signed a statewide contract with Thentia in August 2020, said the company is aware of the issues and has been working to resolve them.
More than a dozen state agencies, boards or commissions use the Thentia software for licensing or other regulatory functions. Among the others are Oklahoma Real Estate Appraisers Board, the Oklahoma Accountancy Board and the Board of Chiropractic Examiners. Some of the leaders of those agencies have provided testimonials or videos for the software platform on the Thentia corporate website.
Agencies who have signed on to the Thentia service pay 20 cents per license per month. State financial reports show the company received at least $1.5 million in the fiscal year 2021. Much of that was from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, which was under the Oklahoma State Department of Health until it became a standalone agency on Nov. 1.
The Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training, which licenses peace officers, security guards and private investigators, has a note on its website explaining the problems with compliance reports for continuing education on the Thentia platform. It said the system can’t identify courses by name and training coordinators can’t see the full training histories of officers. It also notes errors in calculating training hours.
“Those problems have been communicated to our system vendor and they await resolution,” the note to police chiefs, sheriffs and training coordinators said. “We have been waiting months for resolution of most of these problems and we, like you, are very frustrated. However, we cannot fix any of the system errors ourselves. We are totally dependent upon the system provider to do so.”
In an interview, CLEET’s interim Executive Director Preston Draper said the agency began using the Thentia platform in July. Despite the problems running compliance reports, Draper said the agency is still happy with the platform and is meeting regularly with Thentia representatives.
“We anticipated there might be some issues with this,” Draper said. “It’s not as smooth a transition as we had hoped, but we are working on it.”
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Draper said licensees are still able to submit their continuing education credits, but the agency just can’t get a system-wide report or breakdown by license type, business or law enforcement group.
“The (enforcement) mechanism we’re using to do a blanket search is still in process,” Draper said. “It was a huge amount of moving parts to transition into a digital system, so it’s not surprising that there are some hiccups in trying to make that all work.”
Lt. Jason Spradlin, who coordinates training for the 11 officers at the Oklahoma Baptist University police department in Shawnee, said the Thentia system is an improvement over the old paper-based system to track continuing education. Individual officers can still enter their training, but running system-wide reports continues to be a problem.
“It’s definitely an improvement if they could work the bugs out,” Spradlin said. “The bugs have been there since it started. They tell us they’re aware of the issues and they’re working on them, but they haven’t given us a timeline.”
Caden Cleveland, a spokesman for the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, said the CLEET issues were unique to that agency and involved synchronizing data from two databases.
“They are confident this will be corrected in short order and have their local Oklahoma office team committed to working around the clock until a full resolution is complete, which is expected in the next few days,” Cleveland said in an email.
The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority launched the new Thentia portal in January.
The authority had a full outage of the Thentia licensing system for several days in September. In response, it extended expiration dates and deadlines for affected licensees up to a couple of weeks in some cases.
“That affected our ability to process applications because people couldn’t submit them, and we couldn’t access the portal on the regulator side,” said Kelsey Pagonis, communications director. “It was one big event, and it lasted several days.”
Pagonis said there haven’t been any widespread outages of the Thentia system since September. Current problems are minor and usually deal with errors on the payment side of the system or coordination with the data from a separate seed-to-sale tracking system, she said. The authority tracks more than 374,000 patient licenses and 11,400 business licenses for the medical marijuana program.
“With the volume of licenses that we encounter on a daily basis and have to maintain, to me it’s not unreasonable or unfathomable that there would be glitches or issues that occur,” Pagonis said. “We also have a team that works really closely with Thentia and reports all these bugs.”
The outage at the agency was related to Thentia’s partner, Google Cloud, which experienced a global disruption in September, Cleveland said.
In the last four months, the state has revised its statewide contract with Thentia to put more protections in place and additional accountability for Thentia, the Office of Management and Enterprise Services said.
“Additionally, Thentia has shown dedication to partner with the state by voluntarily reimbursing agencies either financially or in terms of free service when there has been a service or implementation issue,” Cleveland said in an email.
Paul Monies has been a reporter with Oklahoma Watch since 2017 and covers state agencies and public health. Contact him at (571) 319-3289 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @pmonies.