by Robert Burns, Guest columnist for the LouisianaVoice.com
Most of the media headlines entailing Bruce Greenstein, Gov. Jindal’s former head of the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), have centered around his recent indictment for alleged false testimony during his confirmation hearing and alleged false statements made to a Louisiana grand jury convened by Attorney General Buddy Caldwell to delve into possible misconduct entailing the awarding of the state Medicaid contract to Client Network Services Incorporated (CNSI). Less noteworthy in the news media, but a matter in which Louisiana Voice has taken a keen interest, is the civil trial taking place in Judge Tim Kelley’s courtroom entailing CNSI’s claim of wrongful termination of its contract for which it seeks millions of dollars in alleged damages.
If anything at all can be taken from the 100-plus pages of grand jury testimony of Bruce Greenstein, it’s that Greenstein’s memory lapses and his reluctance to adequately answer repeated questions about his role in the awarding of a major contract to his former bosses taxed the patience of members of the grand jury who were forced to listen to his verbal sparring with prosecutors for hours on end.
So former Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals Bruce Greenstein has joined an illustrious list of major state officeholders in Louisiana in garnering an indictment for activities related to his office. As the saga unfolds, the risk the state takes financially in pursuing this course of action is far greater than the chances of any wider malfeasance being uncovered.
Former Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) Secretary Bruce Greenstein has been indicted by the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office on nine counts of perjury stemming from a lengthy investigation of his involvement in the awarding of a $183 million contract to a company for which he once worked.
With the 2014 regular session of the legislature less than two weeks away, there have already been a couple of interesting developments that could prevent lawmakers from learning how a federal investigation of a major contract came about in the first place.
Governor Bobby Jindal’s “gold standard” ethics reform is on life support with the latest revelations of the thousands of communications between former Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), Bruce Greenstein and his former boss CNSI.
According to the Jindal administration, Bruce Greenstein, the man in the middle of a growing federal and Attorney General investigation has resigned.
In the relative scheme of things, perhaps early December, 2012 will be viewed in Louisiana political history as the health care policy equivalent of the peaceful breaching of the Berlin Wall. The ending of the era of a state-operated charity hospital system has begun peaceably, and both clients and taxpayers are better off for it.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals joined St. Tammany Parish leaders and area legislators today to announce a final agreement allowing the parish to use the property at Southeast Louisiana Hospital in Mandeville, with Meridian Behavioral Health Services assuming control of inpatient beds at the hospital and outpatient services on the property continuing.