Ex-Stitt staffer lobbies for bid on state Medicaid contract

Mike Seals - January 11, 2021 11:22 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A former employee of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s administration has registered as a lobbyist for a private health care company that’s bidding on a state contract to manage Oklahoma’s Medicaid program.

Former Deputy Secretary of State Samantha Davidson Guinn left the Stitt administration in September, and court records show she registered as a lobbyist for Healthcare Highways and CareSource Oklahoma later that month, the Oklahoman reported Monday.

Stitt had announced over the summer that he would outsource care for many who rely on the state’s Medicaid program, which was recently expanded to serve more low-income residents. The private companies would be contracted to manage the program’s spending.

Davidson Guinn is now the senior vice president of government affairs, strategy and policy for Healthcare Highways, but the company said there’s no conflict of interest between Davidson Guinn’s former role in the administration and her new position.

“As an additional safeguard, Healthcare Highways took the extra step of seeking a second and independent legal opinion by McAfee & Taft law firm in Oklahoma City,” President Alan Scoggins said in a statement. “McAfee & Taft issued a report finding no ethical violations or conflicts in (Davidson Guinn) accepting the position with Healthcare Highways.”

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority is evaluating bids for the program. The chosen companies are expected to be announced early next month, OHCA spokeswoman Melissa Richey said.

 

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