Colorado Healthcare Exchange Boss Accused of Theft at Previous Job

Thursday, 13 Feb 2014 09:14 PM

By Joe Schaeffer

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Colorado officials insist they thoroughly vetted the director of the state’s healthcare exchange, who has been indicted for theft of funds at her previous employer, a federally-funded housing organization in Montana.

Connect for Health Colorado Director Christa Ann McClure was placed on “paid administrative leave” Tuesday after disclosing one day earlier that she had been indicted Jan. 16 over actions during her tenure as executive director of Housing Montana between 2008 and 2010, The Denver Post reports.

She is accused of paying herself "significant sums" for consulting services, although she was already a full-time employee of the organization, making payments to her family and using federal money for personal use, among other charges listed in the indictment.

She also allegedly charged homeowners for a $750 warranty that did not exist, padded her billable work hours, and wrote herself a check for $21,000 she was not entitled to receive.

McClure reported her indictment to the health exchange on Monday after the story broke in the Montana press, exchange spokesman Ben Davis told the Post.

Davis said the exchange performed a criminal background check and checked references before hiring McClure last March.

“She was completely clean,” he said.

Critics of the trouble-plagued healthcare reform rollout on both the federal and state level say McClure’s indictment is yet another example of a flawed system.

"This simply contributes to the fact that the overall implementation of health-insurance reform has been troubled by an endless series of embarrassments," political analyst Floyd Ciruli told the Post.

Meanwhile, the Billings Gazette reports the Montana Auditor’s Office is reviewing its records on McClure in light of the indictment.

Before being hired on to head the Colorado health exchange, McClure had oversight of a $514,000 federal rural development grant to Housing Montana to build 22 homes for low-income residents, the Gazette reports. She earned $98,000 a year.

When she joined Connect for Health Colorado, she began drawing a salary of $130,000 a year, the Post reports.

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