Amid a series of scandals, most lawmakers say they want to reform the way Texas hands out billions in state contracts. As the session's end looms, discussion has narrowed to a handful of bills that some warn are merely first steps.
Three years ago, a company called Geo Care Inc. gave HHSC chief Kyle Janek a blueprint for privatizing state hospitals. The only contract awarded — privatizing Terrell State Hospital — ended up going to that same company.
The Tribune asked more than 20 state agencies for basic information on their largest contracts with private vendors. Most knew, but the embattled health commission, which believes it has $60 billion or so in contracts, couldn't provide key details.
FBI agents have interviewed Texas Health and Human Services Commission employees about the agency's problematic contract with Austin firm 21CT, Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek said Thursday, the first time any official with direct knowledge of the FBI's involvement has confirmed it.
Texas lawmakers are considering different approaches to transforming the state's unwieldy, loophole-ridden system of contract oversight into something that can be properly tracked, analyzed and, when needed, restrained.
A state program pushes agencies to skip competitive bidding for more than $100 million in purchases each year in favor of hiring nonprofits that employ disabled workers. But whether the program's costs are worth it depend on how lawmakers want to define "helping" the disabled.
A now-canceled deal between the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and a software maker is the subject of scrutiny and is also causing greater talk of state contract reforms. Here's a look back at the deal and what led to the current investigations.
Since Texas began pushing to privatize many state services, contracting scandals have erupted with some regularity. But a history of cost overruns or bad performance hardly bars a company from winning future jobs.