Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saturday's News Roundup

Privatization lessons learned-Austin American Statesman

Undoing the damage-Texas Health and Human Services acknowledges the shortcomings of its privatization plan - Houston Chronicle

Texas scales back plan to privatize its social services

Blogs commenting on the "mess":

HHSC Reverses Course on Welfare Privatization - Fr. John Whiteford

More Privatization Tales - Eye on Williamson County

State finally cuts bait on Accenture - OfftheKuff

Wasn't Such a Good Idea to Privatize Social Services with Accenture (Remember them? Used to be Arthur Anderson Before ENRON!) - Somervell County Salon

Accenture gets the Clear Lake Axe - Bay Area Houston


Anonymous said...

After reading the Statesman about lobbying by mental health advocate groups contracting with Dept. of State Health Services with public money, I am suprised they are still receiving dollars.
I was suprised that the Director of the group admitted to altering documents during their internal audit. I did not see an explanation for the altering of documents by the Department.
I think that some employees at the Department and specifically Dave Wanser (Deputy Commissioner accused of lobbying by OIG in the article) are beholden to organizations represented by Michael Toomey. This includes the Texas Association of Health Plans. This has led to unethical practices and affiliations in an attempt to deliver privatization. This effort is supported by staff in the Speaker's Office, mainly Don Green (former HHSC CFO for HHSC Commissioner turned TMA lobbyist Don Gilbert) and Troy Alexander (former Director of TEXPAC-the PAC for TMA. This is why Dave Wanser seems untouchable even though he has consistently caused divisiveness and audits have pointed out problems in his areas.

I have followed the negotiated rulemaking process at DSHS to negotiate how mental health will be privatized with much interest, since I am aware that Randy Fritz (Chief Operating Officer and DSHS staff on the committee)was a Toomey lobbyist from 1995-1997. In fact, as a Toomey lobbyist he was legislative director of Texans for Lawsuit Reform and represented Philip Morris Tobacco.

He also worked as the CHIP bureau chief under Commissioner Archer until he took a huge salary increase to work for Maximus. As the CHIP bureau chief he selected Maximus as the enrollment broker. At Maximus, he got a $50,000 raise during the 2292 deliberations and was placed over the California automated enrollment initiative for CHIP that TIERS was based on. He was making $175,000. He applied as CFO the same week the tentative award was announced for Accenture and was employed at DSHS in the HHSC enterprise at a substantially smaller salary during contract negotiations between Maximus and HHSC.

Given all of this, the lobbying troubles of these groups and DSHS staff, and the ethical issues raised about Texas Health Institute lobbying for privatization, I can't believe all of these groups are still receiving public dollars and Dave Wanser is still employed.

Anonymous said...

Can you update the blog more regularly?