One might think the Jindal administration and the Office of Group Benefits (OGB) might have learned something from the Bruce Greenstein fiasco over at the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH).
Greenstein, you will remember, was the DHH secretary when that $280 million contract was awarded by his agency to his former employer, CNSI.
That scenario could be repeated at OGB.
Even though Greenstein insisted he had established a “firewall” between himself and CNSI, it was subsequently revealed that Greenstein had hundreds of email and text message exchanges with his old bosses during the contract selection process.
That eventually led to Greenstein’s forced resignation and criminal indictment and a civil suit by CNSI the entire messy episodes are slowly making their way through the Baton Rouge District Court system.
Which brings us to OGB and its $35 million-a-year contract with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Louisiana (BCBS) to administer OGB’s Preferred Provider Organization—a task that apparently proved somewhat daunting to BCBS during the first year of its contract, costing the contractor more than $3.1 million in performance penalties.
One of five contracts with the state totaling $1.2 billion, that three-year contract will end on Jan. 1, and OGB is currently accepting proposals for a new three-year contract.
OGB issued its request for proposals (RFP) on March 13, giving an April 20 deadline for proposals but that deadline was extended to April 30 in an addendum issued on Wednesday (April 22). OGB RFP
LouisianaVoice, however, has learned that OGB Administrator Elise Cazes has been put in charge of the evaluation committee which will make recommendations on awarding a winner of the new contract.
The problem? Cazes was appointed Group Benefits Administrator on June 23, 2014.
Cazes was previously employed by BCBS of Louisiana, raising the possibility of a conflict of interests. http://louisianavoice.com/2014/07/26/ogb-laying-of-24-more-blow-softened-when-ceo-assures-affected-employees-losing-their-jobs-not-like-losing-a-child/
She earns $106,000 per year in her current position.
Not only does she head up the evaluation committee, but she also was given the responsibility of naming other members of the committee. To date, the name of only one other evaluation committee member, OGB Interim Deputy Director Bill Guerra, has been revealed.
At the same time, LouisianaVoice has learned that BCBS in 2013 was fined more than $3.1 million for performance deficiencies in connection with its contract with OGB. BLUE CROSS PENALTIES
BCBS was paid slightly more than $32.2 million to administer the PPO plan for calendar year 2013, the first year of its current contract.
Under terms of its contract with OGB, BCBS could be fined up to $9.7 million for failure to meet a variety of standards. Those include:
- General Standards (10 percent of total medical administrative fees): $3.52 million;
- Data Submission Standards: $10,000 per day, or a maximum of $20,000;
- Mental Health & Substance Abuse (MH&SA) Standards (17.5 percent of total medical administrative fees): $6.2 million.
The actual penalties imposed for 2013, according to OGB’s own report, and the breakdown included:
- Average speed to answer phones (39 seconds against an industry standard of less than three seconds): $352,325;
- Claims Accuracy: $352,325
- Membership Identification Cards Timeliness: $352,325;
- Data Submission Timeliness: $20,000 (the maximum amount allowed);
- MH&SA Appeals: $528,487;
- MH&SA Ambulatory Follow-Up: $528,487;
- MH&SA Medical Integration: $528,487;
- MH&SA Member Satisfaction Survey Score: $528,487
TOTAL: $3.19 million.
In explaining the deficiency report, OGB noted that the contract between BCBS and OGB “contains 26 performance goals (called service level agreements, or SLAs) related to customer service and claims processing. During 2013 Blue Cross experienced challenges in meeting a handful of these goals.”
The report indicated that “all issues” had been resolved and that OGB and BCBS were “fully prepared for excellent performance during the 2014 calendar year.”
But LouisianaVoice recently received the following email from a retiree which would seem to indicate otherwise:
“Here’s a laugh; Look at the insurance health cards my wife and I received thus far:
- Received 3/6/15: deductible—$300
- Received 03/09/15: insured deductible—$600
- Received (date unknown): insured deductible—$600
- Received 03/20/15: insured deductible—$1800
- Received 03/20/15: spouse deductible—$600
- Received 03/27/15: spouse deductible—$600
- Received 03/27/15: insured deductible—$1800
- Received 04/04/15: insured deductible—$600.
“Do I get to pick our deductible from these cards? You can tell that BCBSLA and OGB are on top of this matter, right? I plan to make a personal visit to the OGB office probably next week and show them this trash and find out what our deductible(s) really are. Do you think they know? I will ask while I am (at the OGB office) for the real executive director at OGB (to) please stand up.
“Our online monthly premium is a different figure from the letter received in the mail today from OGB. I am ready for someone to figure out what’s going on, and do something logically and correctly. Health insurance is a serious matter for people and they are playing with us. Everything needs to be corrected and cleaned up for all state employees (retirees and actives).
“OGB use to be correct on these technical matters and they had in the past straightened out BCBSLA for me several times on what was to be paid, etc. Now OGB has gone crazy too! I guess it’s from all the new executives at the top.”