BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho insurance exchange leaders Tuesday trimmed their executive director’s power to sign lucrative deals after criticizing her decision last week to give a former board member a no-bid, $375,000 contract.
Your Health Idaho director Amy Dowd now must get the exchange board’s permission for transactions over $15,000. Board members also severed ties with Frank Chan, the ex-board member who got the $180-per-hour taxpayer-funded contract to oversee a big exchange technology project without having to compete for it.
Additionally, they voted to hire a lawyer to investigate just how Chan’s contract materialized.
Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell and an exchange board member, said it was inappropriate for Chan to negotiate with Dowd before he quit the volunteer board Oct. 16 to accept the federally funded contracting position.
“The negotiation of contracts prior to the resignation — Idahoans don’t see that as appropriate,” Rice said. “You just don’t. That’s something that should have been recognized.”
Chan’s contract was to have been paid out of federal grants and nearly doubled the $95 hourly wage he has been paid by state agencies for separate computer work in 2012 and 2013.
Amid mounting complaints, Chan canceled the pact Monday. Though he offered to work with the exchange for the next 30 days under the contract’s terms, board members declined and said they needed a fresh start.
At the conclusion of Tuesday’s meeting, board members voted unanimously to hire a lawyer to investigate events that led to Chan’s contract and offer recommendations about what can be done to prevent similar concerns from arising. A report is due by Oct. 30.
“What we’re trying to do is get a clear understanding of events, and find out how to improve the governance and performance of the board,” House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston and an exchange board member.
Insurance exchanges, part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, are Internet marketplaces meant to connect uninsured people with federally subsidized health care coverage.