Louisiana Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein acknowledged that his office rewrote a solicitation for bids for a lucrative Medicaid contract in a way that made his former employer eligible to do the work.
La. health secretary criticized for Medicaid contract
Greenstein's agency is proposing to hire that former employer, CNSI, for a more than $300 million contract. Under questioning about the arrangement Monday night, Greenstein told the Senate Finance Committee that there were changes made in the request for bids that made CNSI able to put in a proposal.
Greenstein said the changes were made to allow more companies to seek the work, which is handling claims processing for the state's Medicaid program for the poor, elderly and disabled.
"I wanted the most open, competitive bid process," he told the committee.
Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, blasted Greenstein for claims that he had put up a "firewall" between himself and the contract selection, saying there couldn't be if Greenstein knew the bid solicitation was changed and knew CNSI would then be eligible for the 10-year contract.
"There were amendments offered to the process that made your former company eligible, and then they won the bid," she said.
Greenstein, who worked for CNSI from June 2005 to September 2006, has insisted that he removed himself from the recommendation process and had no hand in choosing CNSI.
The Department of Health and Hospitals released a stack of documents and emails Monday involving the selection process, in response to a subpoena from a Senate committee. Greenstein had refused to reveal who was the winning bidder until senators pressured him in his confirmation hearing to unveil whether CNSI was tapped for the work.
The contract hasn't yet been awarded, because the House and Senate health care committees haven't held a required hearing about the plans. CNSI was chosen by a contract selection committee to do the work.
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