Tue. Feb 7th, 2023

Janet Nguyen and Matt Harper

From the OC Politics Blog

Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen struck back at the Orange County Grand Jury this week, in an editorial published by the O.C. Register.

Nguyen claims that CalOptima, the County’s largest insurer – which provides for the health care needs of the poor, was wasting money.  In particular she referenced the purchase of a building that was bought by CalOptima and for which they are still paying a lease.  But Supervisor John Moorlach “defended the building purchase, saying the cash transaction reduced the organization’s overall occupancy costs even though it had to keep its lease at the former building,” according to the O.C. Register.

So Nguyen wants to set the record straight?  OK – let’s have a look at just what she did to CalOptima – as we try to figure out what her intentions were:

  • A plan to give Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen a permanent seat on the county’s CalOptima board is triggering a firestorm of controversy, even before its Tuesday debut at the board’s regular meeting.  Supervisor Shawn Nelson confirmed late Friday that Nguyen had lobbied him for adoption of the proposal, which he adamantly opposes. (Voice of OC).
  • CalOptima Chairman Edward Kacic took direct aim at Nguyen in a weekend email protesting her ordinance amendment. On Tuesday, he decried the lack of transparency involved in the changes.  “I don’t believe there was input from the consumers, or other provider groups,” Kacic wrote. He called Nguyen’s proposal the “most radical revision of CalOptima proposed since it was started.” (Voice of OC).
  • “If this nation is looking for a health care model, CalOptima is phenomenal,” said Moorlach, a fiscal conservative who was Nguyen’s predecessor on the health program’s board, serving for four years. (Voice of OC).
  • Nguyen said dramatic alterations to CalOptima’s nine-member governing board were needed immediately because of the many complaints she’d received since January, when she became the supervisors’ CalOptima representative.  Yet records show CalOptima received only five complaints during the past four months relayed by the county’s top elected officials from their constituents, a spokeswoman said. (Voice of OC).
  • At the CalOptima board meeting last week, the staff delivered the news that CalOptima’s OneCare plan for 13,000 Medicare and Medi-Cal special-needs adults was given a four-star “above-average” Medicare rating for 2012.  Only four of the other 41 Medicare Advantage plans in Orange County received a four-start rating, according to a news release. The top rating is five stars and nationwide only nine plans reached that level. The plan’s previous rating was 3.5. (Voice of OC).
  • Meanwhile for the third consecutive year, CalOptima has been honored by the state for “superior performance,” according to a news release from the chairman of the state Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board.  Federal and state funds are used in the program, called Healthy Families in California, to provide health and dental coverage and an optional vision care plan for children without insurance. (Voice of OC).
  • A $250-per-person campaign fundraiser for Supervisor Janet Nguyen will be held Feb. 28 at the home of Dan Brothman, the CEO of Santa Ana’s Western Medical Center.  The “Tribute to Supervisor Janet Nguyen” follows Nguyen’s successful drive last year to give hospitals a permanent seat on the board of the $1.4-billion CalOptima health plan for Orange County’s poor and elderly. (Voice of OC).
  • Richard Chambers Tuesday announced his resignation as the CEO of CalOptima, Orange County’s $1.4-billion health program for poor and elderly people.  Chambers, who has led CalOptima since 2004, will leave in April to become president of Long Beach-based Molina Healthcare California, a physician-owned firm that manages Medi-Cal and Medicare coverage for 350,000 people in five counties. (Voice of OC).

 Click here to read the rest of this article.

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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