Friday, July 3, 2009

White House Reform Chief Was On Boards of Health Companies With Suspect Practices

Jul 02, 2009

Before taking her job as the White House health reform director, Nancy-Ann DeParle earned more than $6 million serving on the boards of major health care corporations, some of which were accused of fraud, mismanagement and regulatory violations during her tenure, the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University reports on Some critics say the corporate relationships could be a conflict of interest for DeParle. Also, while there's no evidence DeParle was involved in or aware of allegedly fraudulent activities, in three cases, she served on board committees overseeing the companies' legal and regulatory compliance.

For instance, while serving as a director, and compliance committee member at DaVita Inc., a chain of dialysis centers, the company was the "subject of several government probes into its billing and drug-prescribing practices." While DeParle served a similar role at Guidant, it was revealed that the medical equipment supplier knew of cases in which its devices failed, but didn't disclose the information.

"The investigations and lawsuits are at odds with DeParle’s reputation in Washington as a progressive, highly respected health policy analyst," the Investigative Workshop Reports. "During the late 1990s, when she ran Medicare, she pushed hard to raise medical quality standards and to clamp down on fraud and waste in the massive federal health plan for the elderly" (Schulte, 7/2).

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