Bowser fires manager who took job with health insurer after Medicaid purchase

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A week after the DC Council awarded multibillion-dollar contracts to insure DC’s Medicaid patients to three insurers, appearing to finally end a years-long struggle to turn around the city’s Medicaid system after battles before the courts and council, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser called for a new procurement-related ethics investigation recently completed.

Bowser announced this week that she had fired the acting director of her administration’s Office of Policy and Legislative Affairs (OPLA) after announcing that he had taken a new job with the parent company of one of the three insurers who had just obtained a lucrative contract with Medicaid. Bowser (D) referred him to the ethics committee and the city inspector general.

Bryan Hum was promoted in February to the agency’s job, which is responsible for analyzing policy and shaping Bowser’s legislative agenda. Bowser said Tuesday that Hum worked on the contracts, but said he was not involved in the negotiations or their decision.

In an Oct. 23 letter to the city government’s Ethics and Accountability Board as well as DC Inspector General Daniel W. Lucas, Bowser said Hum had given his two weeks’ notice to the city ​​two days earlier, saying he would be joining Elevance Health. , the parent company of Amerigroup. Earlier that week, the DC Council voted to award the city’s Medicaid contracts to Amerigroup, MedStar and AmeriHealth after a controversial years-long procurement process.

Tony Felts, a spokesman for Amerigroup, said Hum applied for the position in response to a public job posting in August – after DC’s Office of Contracts and Procurement had already made its decision to award the Medicaid contracts, although the contracts have not yet been finalized. the board for approval.

City ethics rules prevent officials from obtaining future employment that overlaps with their government responsibilities; two years ago, for example, a high-level Bowser appointee was fined $2,500 for taking a job at Howard University after negotiating a tax break for the school in his post municipal.

Bowser said Hum did not recuse himself from any work related to Medicaid contracts before announcing his new position.

“While he is not a procurement officer engaged in the evaluation or negotiation of contracts, Mr. Hum, in the course of his functions of forwarding and managing contracts to and through the Council, may have access to non-public information,” Bowser wrote. , while seizing agencies.

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Hum started working in the Bowser administration in 2018 and held various positions within the OPLA before being named acting director. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

CareFirst, an insurance company that lost its bid to win one of the Medicaid contracts after lobbying the DC Council and advertising on social media to try to persuade council members that Amerigroup would not was not suitable, sent a statement to the Washington Post on Wednesday saying the contracts should not go forward in light of the request for an investigation into Hum’s conduct.

“We appreciate Mayor Bowser’s call for an Inspector General’s investigation and urge the District to halt the contracting process until officials and the public fully understand the extent of Ms. .Hum in securing and approving these contracts,” CareFirst spokeswoman Jen Presswood wrote.

Bowser’s spokesperson declined to comment on the call to stop the supply.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Bowser said she “will not tolerate people who violate ethical rules, even on their way out.”

“People can do other jobs, but that’s why we have [the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability] – you can call BEGA and get advice on how to do it,” Bowser said. “But it should be obvious to everyone that you can’t work on a subject while accepting a job offer, especially regarding a contract you’ve worked on.”


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