The Source: Texas' Health And Human Service Scandal Analyzed
Over the course of the past two months, accusations of scandal, mismanagement and calls for resignations have embroiled the state's Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), all stemming from a no-bid contract being awarded to a company called 21st Century Technologies, or 21CT.
The company was given $110 million in 2012 to provide software that would detect Medicaid fraud. The cost of the contract alarmed several lawmakers when the Austin American Statesman broke the story in August of 2014.
In December, Doug Wilson, the HHSC Inspector General, was fired and three other officials resigned at various times. The HHSC Chief of Staff, Erica Stick, resigned last week. Her husband, Jack Stick, who also resigned in December, brokered the deal between 21CT and the State and is--as a result--under criminal investigation. He's been accused of steering money to the company by avoiding state procurement laws.
Kyle Janek, the Executive Commissioner of the organization, said in an interview with the Texas Tribune that he was lied to about how the contract was handled and that it should have been put to a competitive bid. Many lawmakers aren't assuaged by the Commissioner's account and are calling for his resignation, most notably Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston).
Former Governor Perry announced an investigation into the matter, but ironically it was revealed that it was Perry's veto of funds for the Public Integrity Unit that interfered with an ongoing investigation into another no-bid contract having to do with the Department of Public Safety.
21CT CEO, Irene Williams, has repeatedly said the company has violated no state laws, and was vetted by the state for contracts.
Now this ordeal moves to new Gov. Greg Abbott's table for resolution.
- Terri Langford, reporter for The Texas Tribune
- Brian Rosenthal, reporter for the Houston Chronicle