A report compiled by the state auditor shows the organization responsible for providing Medicaid services in Jefferson County spent excessive amounts of money on luxury resorts, limousine services and big bonuses over three years. In a 200-page report released earlier today, state Auditor Crit Luallen unveiled 20 different findings of wasteful spending and called for more accountability and transparency from Passport Health Plan, a health-care provider group based in Louisville.
Among the findings, the audit also discovered $14 million was spent on consulting and outsourced services, including $1 million on lobbying and public relations. In addition to excessive spending, Luallen’s exam reports that Passport isn’t in compliance with several terms of its contract with the state and $30 million in distributions over three years may not be in compliance with state law.
In Jefferson and surrounding counties, Passport provides services to over 164,000 Medicaid recipients and holds the state’s largest contract, receiving $793 million in state and federal funds.
“Passport plays such a vital role in the lives of many Kentuckians, it is imperative that it use state and federal Medicaid funds in an equitable and transparent manner,” Luallen said in a news release. “Any cost savings generated by the program should take the form of lower costs to the state or additional services.”
The report also notes weak ethical policies and numerous conflicts of interest in the organization while calling its board structure into question. For instance, the exam highlights two Passport officials — Executive Vice President Shannon Turner and Associate Vice President Nici Gaines — who had an apparent conflict of interest.
According to the audit, Turner and Gaines both worked as consultants for a Passport vendor that they were in charge of overseeing. The auditor’s exam makes several recommendations to the Kentucky Department of Medicaid Services (DMS) to strengthen contract negotiations with Passport.