More Contracting Woes for Texas HSSC

As a result of a recent general audit of HHSC, there have been discovered inappropriate ties between two HHSC employees and AT&T while at least 15 contracts between HHSC and AT&T have taken place. Of these contracts, some may have been under-managed and over-budgeted. See http://www.texastribune.org/2014/12/30/auditor-state-health-agency-mishandled-t-contract/ for further details. As the year ends, HHSC is now facing multiple allegations of gross mismanagement of multi-million dollar contracts. One may wonder if this will greatly affect the agenda for healthcare in the upcoming Texas legislative session for 2015-2016, including how therapy services will be budgeted as a smaller part of the overall state healthcare budget.

Moratorium on HCSSAs in Texas Lifted

The CMS moratorium on newly formed HCSSAs (as well as home health agencies and ground ambulance providers) in some counties in Texas and elsewhere in the country, that was initiated in January 2014, was lifted only for Medicaid HCSSAs as of June 23, 2014. See the documents announcing this here:

http://www.tmhp.com/News_Items/2014/08-August/08-06-14%20Update%20to%20Moratorium%20Information%20for%20Home%20Health%20Agency%20and%20Ground%20Ambulance%20Providers.pdf

and

http://www.tmhp.com/News_Items/2014/06-June/06-24-14%20Update%20to%20Temporary%20Moratorium%20HH%20Agency%20and%20Ground%20Ambulance%20Providers.pdf.

New Investigations Finding Patterns of Insider Links In HHSC and Contractor 21CT

Recent journalistic investigations from the Austin Statesman and Houston Chronicle into the “Stick-gate” controversies surrounding former Texas HHSC lead counsel Jack Stick and analytics software contractor 21CT have led to more linkage between not only Jack Stick, but possibly family members, including his wife and chief of staff, and former Texas OIG Inspector General Doug Wilson’s wife. See the latest summary from the Texas Tribune, https://www.texastribune.org/2014/12/22/brief/.

OIG Inspector General Wilson Resigns

TxHHSC OIG Inspector General, Doug Wilson, resigned this past Friday, being forced out by Gov. Rick Perry. Additionally, the wife of Mr. Wilson and that of Jack Stick were also put on indefinite leave. Jack Stick’s chief of staff was also put on indefinite leave as the Commission is seeking to remove any hint of a continuing conflict of interest from the fallout of the 21CT no-bid “Stick-gate” fiasco. See http://www.texastribune.org/2014/12/19/perry-fires-hhsc-inspector-general/ for more details.

Curiously, Mr. Stick is still being allowed to “finish off” some of his projects before leaving entirely. What may those projects be? Mr. Wilson’s testimony in hearings pertaining to OIG involvement in over zealous actions was often times terse and filled with “no knowledge of that” or ” will get back on that” types of answers from questions put to him by legislators.

More Cookies in the Jar from Texas’ Jack Stick

Apparently, Jack Stick, the former head counsel and OIG inspector General for Enforcement for the Texas HHSC, who resigned last Friday amid alleged no-bid influence peddling to award multiple contracts to a software firm in Austin, 21CT, in which he allegedly had indirect relations with, had more no-bid contracts hidden under his sleeve for the Texas tax payer. The State’s Department of Family and Protective Services under HHSC, seems to have awarded 21CT another no-bid contract for certain software and analytics services that would have been blended with their prior data and analysis from their Medicaid fraud graph pattern analytics environment earlier in the year. That contract has now been terminated amid “Stick-gate”. See https://www.texastribune.org/2014/12/17/hhsc-cancels-2nd-contract-21ct/ for more details.

Our predictions – there will be investigations from outside of the safe haven of the HHSC, into these transgressions. Ask your state representative and senator about this.