The Tip of the Iceberg
The Idaho Health Information Exchange bankruptcy and the subsequent coverup by The Department of Health and Welfare and at the highest levels in the executive branch of Idaho government is a disgrace, but also is a metaphor about the power of influential lobbyists and corporations in our State that continue to serve themselves and not WE THE PEOPLE.
In a report that I will use almost exclusively in writing this article the IDAHO LEGISLATURE OFFICE OF PERFORMANCE EVALUATION that will be presented to a legislative committee on November 10th, outlines in great detail the malfeasance of The Exchange and The Department of Health and Welfare (DHW).
For over two years I have talked to legislators, many who have a complete understanding of the issue, but who have also been told that the issue is “untouchable” by people in the executive branch. Even the Idaho Attorney General has been asked not to look into the issue.
Here are the facts:
- The Idaho Health Data Exchange was a non-profit organization created by the legislature over 10 years ago.
- The legislature directed the (DHW) to develop a governance system that would assure health records were available to providers across the entire state
- During the entire time, the Exchange was operational the (DHW) repeatedly broke rules regarding single source procurement laws and did not use procurement rules (RFPs etc.).
- In 2019, out-of-State consultants were brought in to manage the exchange only to have their authority marginalized by (DHW) employees when new management tried to institute transparency and accounting policies.
- The Exchange filed for bankruptcy after being sued by a sole contractor for withholding payments for services rendered.
- The exchange compensated a relatively small number of providers.
- $24.4 million was paid to The Exchange by The (DHW)
- An additional $64.9million went to health care providers to develop electronic health records.
- In the end, 95% of funding went to “improve the database” and only 5% went to improve access to health records for individual providers.
- The Exchange Declared Bankruptcy two years ago with the result that creditors will only receive 25% of the debt owed to them.
In my opinion, this may be just the tip of the iceberg of the malfeasance and mismanagement that continues to go on at the highest levels in our State government. What should really frost the backside of every Idahoan that pays State taxes, and every voter is that the Director of the Idaho (DHW) is asking for 60 more (FTEs) and more money this year from the legislature who will continue “to nibble around the edges” of Medicaid and (DHW) mismanagement.
I respectfully ask the leadership and all legislators to do their due diligence and act. Maybe even more importantly I will ask our Attorney General to look into this particular issue. All parties should know that there will be pushback from the IMA/IHA/IACI lobbyist-corporatists who continue to drink at the trough of government transfer payments and entitlements. I again call for independent outside audits of the (DHW) and all those contracting with the (DHW) via transfer payments to the tune of over $100million/yr.
It is my opinion that this is just THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG!