Brady urges suspension of HMO contract process

Brady urges suspension of HMO contract process

SPRINGFIELD — In the wake of a damning audit of the state's health insurance procurement system, Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, is calling for a suspension of the process to select vendors for a new state-administered supplemental HMO package.

Brady, one of 12 members of the Legislative Audit Commission, on Thursday asked Gov. Pat Quinn to suspend the request for proposals "until the Legislative Audit Commission gets to take a closer look at the findings" of state Auditor General William Holland.

Brady also asked the executive director of the audit commission to hold an "emergency hearing" on March 21 to review Holland's findings. The Legislature, which left Springfield on Thursday, is scheduled to return March 21, the day after the primary election.

"After a review of the very disturbing summary and failure of the current administration to comply with the procurement code and provisions of the ethics commission, I am calling for a suspension of the RFP process within this administration until we can take a much closer look at these findings," said Brady, who was the Republican Party's unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate in 2010.

Urbana's Health Alliance Medical Plans had said that it would bid on the new supplemental health insurance contract.

Waiting until March 21 should not be a problem, according to a spokesman for the Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

"The department did not intend to post the RFP prior to the March 21st hearing, and we look forward to answering any questions the commission might have on that date," said spokesman Mike Claffey. "The department intends to fulfill its obligations under the settlement agreement (with Health Alliance), and under the settlement, we have until late April to post the RFP."

Brady also said he hopes to work with legislative leaders to sponsor emergency legislation addressing the audit, which was highly critical of the state Department of Healthcare and Family Services and of the executive ethics commission.

In the audit released Wednesday, the auditor general said that the process that awarded $7 billion in state health insurance contracts last year had "serious deficiencies," and "we are unable to conclude whether the state's best interests were achieved" by the procurement process.

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