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Lawmaker Calls for Shakeup Of Passport Board

Kentucky State Senator Tim Shaughnessy is calling for a shakeup of the board that oversees the Passport Health Plan.Passport, which administers Medicaid benefits to people in Jefferson and 15 surrounding counties, was sharply criticized in a report this week by state Auditor Crit Luallan.It found instances of lavish spending by staff over a three year period, but Shaughnessy, who requested the audit, says there are other findings that cause concern. "Monies that were distributed from Passport, $30 million, a significant portion of which, the state was told, this money was going to go for indigent care grants. In reality, we find that that money went into the general funds of the owners of Passport. The state was misled," he told reporters today during a legislative committee meeting in Louisville.Shaughnessy says there's no way to determine if the money was actually spent on indigent care. The audit does not recommend a criminal investigation, but Shaughnessy has asked the attorney general to determine if the handling of the money was legal. Passport officials said in response to the audit that they agree with some of its findings and disagree with others, while others will require board deliberation. Shaughnessy, a Democrat from Louisville, has asked a legislative committee to meet next month to discuss the possible replacement of the Passport board.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.