Federal Audit: Connect For Health Owes Nearly $10 Million In Grant Money

By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4)– A federal audit by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General is recommending that Colorado’s non-profit health insurance exchange give back nearly $10 million in grant money to the federal government.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The audit was highly critical of Connect for Health Colorado. It has been offering medical and dental insurance for more than five years.

Kevin Patterson the current CEO is addressing the report.

CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger interviews Connect for Health Colorado CEO Kevin Patterson (credit: CBS)

CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger interviews Connect for Health Colorado CEO Kevin Patterson (credit: CBS)

“It was for a period of two or three years ago and does not accurately reflect what we have done since that time,” he told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The Health and Human Services Inspector General’s report recommended payback of
$9.7 million to the federal government, $4.5 million of that for improper documentation vendor contracts during start-up period, and $463,000 for improperly awarded executive and employee bonuses.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“Well, we actually pulled that bonus program back not long after i got her and we are going through a process to revamp our performance plan,” said Patterson.

The original CEO, Patty Fontaneau, was the subject of criticism after receiving pay raises and bonus money while running the insurance exchange.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The audit also found grants used to purchase equipment for a previous CEO who kept it for personal use when the CEO left the organization.

The conservative group Compass Colorado issued a release stating, “It’s easy to be so reckless when you’re dealing with someone else’s money, but in this
case it’s our money.”

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The report comes as the future of Obamacare and Connect for Health Colorado is now uncertain.

Patterson was no less bullish about the insurance program, “I think we are telling everybody sign up make sure you sign up and are protected by insurance for 2017 let us worry about what’s happening in Washington.”

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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