Former Calif. Regulator Agrees to Fine for Assisting Kaiser in Audit
An attorney who previously worked at a state regulatory agency has agreed to a fine after admitting she acted improperly during an audit of Kaiser Permanente, according to court documents released Monday, the Los Angeles Times reports (McGreevy, Los Angeles Times, 1/11).
In September 2013, National Union of Healthcare Workers filed a complaint against Kaiser alleging that the company hired Marcy Gallagher to impede an investigation into its practices. Gallagher previously served as an attorney with the California Department of Managed Health Care's enforcement division.
NUHW filed the complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission.
Kaiser hired Gallagher in 2012 while she was investigating the organization's health plan for issues related to mental health services access. She later served as a practice leader in Kaiser's regulatory response business unit (California Healthline, 9/19/13).
Details of Decision
According to the state FPPC, Gallagher during the six months she worked on the audit:
- "Helped pick" the audit team;
- Developed the scope of work;
- Counseled the audit analysts;
- "Advised on documents to be requested from Kaiser"; and
- Reviewed and edited the preliminary report.
The state FPPC concluded that after leaving DMHC, Gallagher helped Kaiser defend itself against the investigation's findings.
As a result, Gallagher has agreed to pay a $3,000 administrative fine to FPPC for violating a ban on state administrators being compensated to help firms in the same audit proceedings in which they previously had been involved.
According to a report by FPPC, the fine is lower than the $5,000 maximum penalty because Gallagher cooperated with the investigation and does not have a history of violations.
Next week, FPPC will meet to consider whether to approve the fine (Los Angeles Times, 1/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.