PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – R.I. Health and Human Services Secretary Elizabeth Roberts resigned Tuesday over the botched launch of the state’s troubled new computer system for benefits, Gov. Gina Raimondo confirmed Tuesday night.

Roberts offered her resignation during a late-afternoon meeting with the governor. Her plans were first reported earlier Tuesday by Eyewitness News. No announcements have been made yet about a successor.

“Elizabeth played a key role in our successful efforts to drive Rhode Island’s uninsured rate to one of the lowest in the nation while reducing costs,” Raimondo said in a statement. “At this time however, it has become clear that the challenges faced by UHIP require new leadership.”

Roberts, a former Democratic lieutenant governor, has been a key Cabinet member throughout the governor’s first two years in office, spending a significant amount of time on the administration’s push to reign in the cost of Medicaid.

But the secretary has come under fire in recent months after the troubled rollout of the Unified Health Infrastructure Project (UHIP), the state’s new $364-million computer system for benefits. Two other senior officials, R.I. Department of Human Services Director Melba Depena Affigne and Chief Digital Officer Thomas Guertin, resigned last month over UHIP.

In her own statement, Roberts said it had been “a tremendous honor” to serve on the governor’s team and said she is “committed to supporting the administration during and after the transition to new leadership.”

Raimondo’s office has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday morning where she will announce the findings of an assessment of UHIP conducted over the last 30 days by her chief operating officer, Eric Beane. The governor will detail his findings and “the actions she will take going forward,” according to her office.

The House Oversight Committee is scheduled to hold the latest in a series of hearings about UHIP later Wednesday.

Roberts has been closely tied to the UHIP project from the start. Former Gov. Lincoln Chafee appointed her in 2011 to chair a commission tasked with coordinating Rhode Island’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Rhode Island, and the panel encouraged his administration to undertake the project.

House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan, R-West Warwick, wrote on Twitter: “Sec Roberts is leaving, but the mess she created will linger and cause harm for a long time to come.”

Also criticizing Roberts was Nicholas Oliver, executive director of the Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care, who blasted her for “naivety and inexperience” due to her lack of experience in health-care management. “Secretary Roberts’ rigid view of the state’s health care system blinded her from understanding the realities of operating healthcare practices and agencies in Rhode Island,” he said.

Ted Nesi ( covers politics and the economy for He writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram