State officials pass the buck during review of DHFS audit
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[March 30, 2012]
-- Illinois lawmakers wanting to know who was accountable for
mistakes made in awarding health insurance contracts heard
administration officials pass the buck -- rather, 6.6 billion bucks
-- during a meeting Thursday of the Legislative Audit Commission,
according to state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington.
"This is a nearly $7 billion procurement that deals with the health
care of the people who work for the state, and have worked for the
state," Brady said. "The governor and his Office of Management and
Budget have questions they need to answer about why certain memos
were ignored and why they continued along a line that cost the state
money and put at risk the people who depend on state health
A March 8 report by Bill Holland, state auditor general, blasted
the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services for its
handling last year of a five-year, $6.6 billion contract to the
state's largest insurer to administer HMO plans for state employees.
"After reviewing the auditor general's report earlier this month,
I immediately called for a meeting of Legislative Audit Commission
to address the apparent failure of the current administration to
comply with the procurement code and provisions of the Ethics
Commission," said Brady, who is an Audit Commission member.
During the hearing yesterday, Audit Commission members asked DHFS
officials what had gone wrong during the process of selecting
vendors for state-administered HMO and OAP insurance coverage.
During the discussion, it became evident that different officials
had different interpretations of the Illinois law detailing
oversight of the procurement process.
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"Unfortunately, what we heard today boiled down to state
officials passing the buck. Neither DHFS nor the Executive Ethics
Commission seems to be clear on who has the ultimate authority and
responsibility for the mistakes made in this very important process,
which affects thousands of state employees," Brady said.
The 44th District senator said he will continue to work with
legislative leaders, the Audit Commission, the Department of
Healthcare and Family Services, and the Executive Ethics Commission
to clarify the statutes and improve the process by which vendors are
"Clearly, things were done wrong. There are a lot of issues that
remain to be resolved, some statutory, so this does not happen
again. We will continue to monitor this process and find the
circumstances that need to be addressed," Brady said.
[Text from file sent on behalf
Bill Brady by
Illinois Senate Republican staff]