Texas’ sprawling bureaucracy for regulating health care and providing social services is vulnerable to a “perception of impropriety” because it routinely lets individual contracting personnel open bids on their own, without any witnesses, a new internal audit says. The Health and Human Services system also unwisely allows program managers and division leaders who control billions of dollars of spending to ask for the same contracting specialist every time, the audit said. That potentially creates a coziness that could harm taxpayers’ interests, it said. Problems highlighted in the audit, which was released to state GOP leaders last week, are the latest in a long line of problems at the Health and Human Services Commission. Six officials have stepped down since early April, when Gov. Greg Abbott called revelations of sloppiness and mistakes in scoring of bids “unacceptable.” …
… Another audit released Tuesday by an independent arm of the Legislature looked at nearly 70 percent of the $6.7 billion worth of contracts that the commission awarded in a recent 27-month period. There were problems with every single one of the 28 separate calls for bids or grant proposals that the State Auditor’s Office examined. … Both the commission’s internal audit and the State Auditor’s Office review sharply criticized sloppy handling and scoring of bids for billions of dollars worth of work for the Medicaid program for the poor and other health and social services programs. …
- The preventable tragedy of D’ashon Morris
Doctors described him as “happy and playful” and told his foster mother he would be healthy by the time he went to kindergarten. That was before a giant health care company made a decision that saved it as much as $500 a day — and cost D’ashon everything.
- As patients suffer, companies profit
Imagine being trapped in a bed for more than a year because you can’t get the medical equipment you need. Years of poor oversight by the state have allowed health care companies to skimp on essential care for sick kids and disabled adults.
- Texas pays companies billions for ‘sham networks’ of doctors
The state tells foster parents that hundreds of psychiatrists will see their kids. We found only 34. Managed-care companies overstate the number of physicians available to treat the state’s sickest patients.
- ‘Glossover of the horror’
A whistleblower says taxpayers are not getting their money’s worth and sick people are not getting the care they need. Texas fails to act when health care companies put patients in peril.
- Parents vs. the Austin machine
“You can tell that he’s crying or screaming, but nothing comes out.” Texas families take fight for medically fragile children to the Legislature.