After A Flawed Bidding Process, State Health Agency Is Forced To Cancel Contracts

The Health and Human Services Commission’s scoring tool was flawed and it produced the wrong recommendations for winners.

By Rhonda Fanning & Laura RiceApril 10, 2018 7:05 am| ,

Five health contracts with the Child Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, have been canceled and three state employees have been fired after mishandling contracts.

These contracts were awarded back in December and they were set to take effect in September 2018. But a bidder protested, forcing an investigation from the state’s Health and Human Services Commission.

Bob Garrett, Austin Bureau Chief of the Dallas Morning News, says the investigation found that the spreadsheet used as a scoring tool was flawed and it produced the wrong recommendation for winners.

“Gov. Greg Abbott wrote a letter calling for two sort of outside investigations by the state auditor and the inspector general at the commission,” said Garrett. “He said there was no direct knowledge of any malfeasance or anything.”

The state’s Health and Human Services Commission has been on probation for several years based on their contracts.

“They know they’re looked at skeptically as to their competence,” Garrett says, “and I think there’s other things coming in the pipeline that maybe are making the Abbott administration very nervous.”

The bidding will occur again in 2020. Until then, commission spokeswoman Carrie Williams says the problem won’t affect children receiving services.

Written by Angela Bonilla