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ValueOptions(R) New Mexico Files Formal Protest of Award of New Mexico Behavioral Health Contract to United
Date:2/9/2009

rent rush to anoint UnitedHealth/Optum as the successful bidder - a bidder that has no statewide public sector experience at all.

3) The collaborative failed to consider evidence regarding the winning bidder's integrity and business ethics in making its responsible determination.

According to New Mexico state law, public contracts can be awarded only to responsible offerors. Throughout 2008, and including October 8, 2008, when RFP proposals were due, UnitedHealth Group, the parent company of Optum, was under investigation by the New York Attorney General for defrauding consumers by intentionally skewing data to lower reimbursements to providers and members. Ultimately, UnitedHealth, parent of Optum, was required to pay $400 million; $50 million to create a nonprofit organization to address the issues; and $350 million to settle a class-action lawsuit claiming United had underpaid patients and doctors. These findings raise serious concerns regarding UnitedHealth/Optum's record of integrity.

4) The Collaborative overlooked a serious conflict of interest inherent in the winning bidder's proposal.

Optum is a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, which supplied through another subsidiary, Ingenix, the skewed data that has allowed all the UnitedHealth companies to underpay providers and patients. While Optum has no other statewide Medicaid business, it does have business with national employers who have employees in New Mexico. It is unknown whether the evaluators checked with New Mexico's Attorney General to see if action similar to that which occurred in New York will be taken in New Mexico to collect money underpaid to providers and consumers.

5) The Collaborative failed to consider the absence of necessary software licenses in its proposal evaluation, resulting in an unrealistic score for the winning bidder in the Information Systems/Technology scoring sect
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SOURCE ValueOptions, Inc.
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