Officials to outline takeover of health care company

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Local,DC,Liz Farmer

D.C.'s top health officials will testify before a D.C. Council committee this week on their plan to deliver care to more than 100,000 low-income residents after a judge approved the city's takeover of the troubled Chartered Health Plan Inc.

The takeover, approved late last week, came seven months after federal agents raided the office of Jeffrey Thompson, the sole owner of Chartered, and just days after an internal audit of the company found millions in expected income and expenses that went unreported to regulators.

Thompson has been a major donor for D.C. politicians. He is under scrutiny by federal investigators for allegedly financing a shadow campaign that helped elect Mayor Vincent Gray in 2010.

The D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking, which requested the takeover after Chartered's board of directors voted to move into receivership, will now run the company until its contract with the city is up at the end of April.

Department Commissioner William White, who has said he would push for sale of the company, on Monday told The Washington Examiner that his department's role in the coming months is that of financial rehabilitator.

"We're really helping to clarify what their overall position is from an operational and from a financial standpoint and then we would give any potential buyers an idea of what that looks like," White said.

He added that the city has also hired an attorney specializing in receivership who will assist the company in getting its finances organized. Chartered is paying for the attorney, White said.

Sale plans aside, White said he intends to assure the council that the takeover will not change insurance coverage for the 110,000 low-income residents served by Chartered.

"The Medicaid recipients, those beneficiaries, are the ones that are the most important here," he said.

The roundtable hearing will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. by the council's Committee on Health, chaired by at-large Councilman David Catania.

Chartered's management, including Thompson's ownership, will stay intact through the receivership. Under his leadership over 12 years, the company won millions of dollars in city contracts -- including $355 million in 2011 alone.

But he largely flew under the radar until federal officials in March raided his office at Chartered in connection with the investigation into Gray's 2010 campaign. Thompson has not been charged with any crime, but officials familiar with the investigation have said he helped to bankroll a $653,800 shadow campaign to help elect Gray.

lfarmer@washingtonexaminer.com

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