Three years ago, a company called Geo Care Inc. failed to win a contract from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to privatize the Kerrville State Hospital, one of the state’s 10 psychiatric facilities. So the company’s lobbyist, Frank Santos, circled back and provided HHSC Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek with a blueprint for how the agency could successfully privatize other state hospitals — maybe Austin, Kerrville, San Antonio and Rusk — which would then allow Santos’ client to bid for the work. …. The emailed communications between Santos and Janek, as well as phone calls and meetings, appear to break no laws. In fact, the state’s own statutes allow vendors to approach government agencies with “public-private partnership” ideas. But the optics for Janek, who has been bombarded with calls for his resignation, are something else entirely.
Texas Ditches Plan to Privatize Terrell State Hospital
Source: Terri Langford, Texas Tribune, March 25, 2015
A plan to privatize Terrell State Hospital is dead following a scathing audit that raps the state health commission for bypassing its own contracting procedures. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission canceled the deal — which was still being negotiated — immediately following the Wednesday release of a report by Texas State Auditor John Keel, commission spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman said. The review of the deal is the latest setback for Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek. The commission is already being investigated for the way it awarded a $20 million anti-Medicaid fraud software deal to a single bidder in 2012. And late last year, a state audit dinged the agency for a messy telecommunications contract with AT&T that ballooned from $48 million to $80 million. In this latest report, the state auditor took issue with the commission’s October decision to tentatively select Geo Care LLC to run the hospital, one of the state’s 10 psychiatric facilities. The audit found that the commission undervalued the contract and skipped having the deal blessed by the Texas attorney general’s office, as required…. GEO Care, which eventually became the company known as Correct Care LLC, issued a statement expressing regret over the state’s decision not to proceed. …
Audit reviewing state contract to run North Texas psychiatric facility
Source: Statesman, February 7, 2015
As state health officials continue to take fire over the agency’s technology contracts, they’re facing another investigation into a proposed deal with a private company to run a North Texas psychiatric facility. The State Auditor’s Office is conducting a review into whether the Health and Human Services Commission followed state procurement laws when it awarded Correct Care Solutions a tentative contract to run Terrell State Hospital. The cost and the scope of the proposed deal aren’t publicly known.
Deadlines continue to pass for state hospital privatization
Source: Gary E. Lindsley, Terrell Tribune, January 16, 2015
State officials had hoped to have a new operator for Terrell State Hospital by summer 2014. Then they hoped to have a new operator in place by early fall. That, of course, changed to Jan. 1. Jan. 1 has come and gone and Texas Department of Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Dr. Kyle Janek still does not have a signed contract with Correct Care Solutions. CCS, according to state officials, operates six residential treatment hospitals in Florida, South Carolina and Texas that care for about 2,000 patients. Former state Rep. Lance Gooden on Jan. 8 told members of the Rotary Club of Terrell that a contract should be signed between Janek and CCS officials in the next few weeks. After that, it will take several months to work out the transition from state to CCS operation, according to Gooden…..
Column: Janek’s push for urgency in Terrell State Hospital privatization effort questioned
Source: Mike Elswick, Terrell Tribune, January 16, 2015
One of the big mysteries of the whole privatization push the executive commissioner of the Texas Department of Health and Human Services for putting operations of Terrell State Hospital in the hands of a private operator has been his sense of urgency. … It is baffling to those watching this convoluted process as to why he has placed such tight timelines on awarding a bid and of getting operations out of the state’s hands. After all, Terrell State Hospital has been a state operated institution since the 1880s. …. Unfortunately, Janek and the commission have practically ignored local input into the process and the details of the bid process have been so scant that it almost seems as if the apparent recipient of the bid, Geo Care’s Correct Care Solutions, was predetermined long before a single bid was submitted. In fact, the name of Geo Care was among those mentioned as potential operators long before bids were officially accepted. ….
Bid deadline extended again for Terrell State Hospital privatization proposals
Source: Gary E. Lindsley, Terrell Tribune, August 10, 2014
The deadline for submitting proposals to operate Terrell State Hospital has been extended yet again.
Dr. Kyle Janek, who is the Texas Department of Health Human Services executive commissioner, originally set up a schedule which could have seen someone other than the state running the mental health facility by Sept.15….
Privatized hospital, hidden woes?
Source: Andrea Ball, Austin American-Statesman, June 30, 2014
State leaders have quietly taken steps over the past year to privatize a troubled psychiatric hospital, a move that, if successful, could hide much of its work from public view. Earlier this month, the Department of State Health Services solicited bids to operate Terrell State Hospital, a Northeast Texas psychiatric facility that houses about 250 people with severe mental illnesses. The hospital came close to losing millions of dollars in federal funding last year after Medicare investigators said widespread problems threatened patients’ lives. The state has unsuccessfully tried to privatize its psychiatric hospitals multiple times over the past decade, saying a for-profit company might help save taxpayer money while caring for some of the most vulnerable people in Texas. This time, state leaders say they’re not seeking to save money, but rather to improve patient services. But paying an outsider to run Terrell State Hospital would make it much harder for the public to know what goes on there. Even when they take taxpayer money, the Texas Public Information Act doesn’t always apply to privately owned companies, which can withhold basic information that state hospitals are typically required to release.