L.A. Care CEO Resigns Over Conflict of Interest Concerns
Anthony Rodgers, the "generally well-regarded" CEO of L.A. Care Health Plan, has resigned just two weeks after being placed on leave over conflict of interest concerns, the Los Angeles Times reports. Rodgers was placed on administrative leave by the plan's board after he failed to disclose his recent marriage to an official at Blue Cross, one of the health plans that participates in L.A. Care. However, Rodgers said that he "made no secret of his marriage," and added that his wife, Deborah, was not in a policy-making position at Blue Cross. Still, Rodgers resigned under apparent "pressure from board members," the Times reports. Local health care advocates criticized the board's decision, pointing out that many L.A. Care board members have a "personal stake" in the region's health care. For example, board member Mark Finucane runs the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, whose Medi-Cal HMO sub-contracts with L.A. Care.
Former L.A. Care Board member Lynn Kersey called the allegation that Rodgers' marriage amounted to a conflict of interest "ridiculous," saying, "I think it's terribly unfortunate. He was doing an excellent job and he obviously cared very much about getting people health care." During Rodgers' nearly six-year tenure as head of L.A. Care, the plan became the "largest managed care organization" in the country, overseeing managed care programs for 659,000 Medi-Cal beneficiaries in Los Angeles County. Although he acknowledged Rodgers' accomplishments, L.A. Care Board President Rodney Armstead defended the board's decision. Armstead said, "The obvious support that Tony had from staff and the community was not lost on board members and thus made this process even more difficult. Although the board is unable to comment on the exact nature of anything we discussed, please trust that the process was extremely fair, engaging the entire board for many hours." It was not clear when Rodgers' resignation would be effective or who would replace him (Bernstein, Los Angeles Times, 2/22).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.