A report detailing an investigation into the Idaho health exchange awarding a $375,000 to a former board won’t be available to the public, IdahoReporter.com learned this week.
The health exchange, formally Your Health Idaho (YHI), denied a public records request for the document, claiming that attorney-client privilege and several sections of Idaho Code allow the exemption.
Earlier this year, Amy Dowd, YHI’s executive director, awarded the lucrative contract to Frank Chan, a
technology company owner. Chan quit the board the same day his company, Boise-based Applied Computer, received the no-bid contract.
Chan cancelled the contract after a public outcry, but the exchange decided to investigate and hire a private law firm in look into the matter. YHI officials finalized the investigation on Nov. 12 in a multi-hour closed-door meeting and revealed little to the public.
The report produced by the law firm will stay under wraps, too. “Accordingly, the document that you’ve requested is exempt from disclosure under the Policy and will not be provided to you,” YHI communications and marketing director Jody Olson wrote this week in response to an IdahoReporter.com records request.
Two legislators on the board have defended the secrecy surrounding the investigation.
“As with any business, personnel matters are not shared publicly, as is the case in this issue, as well,” Rep. Kelley Packer, R-McCammon, wrote in a letter to lawmakers that she also posted to her Facebook page. “That, along with attorney/client privileges, is the reason the report will not be open for public use.”
“What was done was wrong,” wrote Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, on a post on Packer’s wall. “It was unethical. We will take every action we can to see that this type of thing will never occur again.”
Some legislators are upset about the lack of transparency by the exchange.
Rep. Douglas Hancey, R-Rexburg, told IdahoReporter.com that he plans to broach the subject with Packer. “I will make it clear to Ms. Packer how strongly I feel about this,” he said.
House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, told IdahoReporter.com that the exchange is using a loophole to avoid complete transparency.
To avoid another lucrative handout without proper oversight, YHI officials wrote a strict procurement procedure that, among other things, prevents board members or employees from receiving contracts for a year after leaving the operation.
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