On March 15, the IT chief for California’s health insurance exchange (HIX) — called Covered California — James Joseph Brown Jr., was arrested. And he left his post on March 25, the day he was arraigned on felony conflict of interest charges, according to local news outlet The Sacramento Bee. The Bee also reported that when the crimes occurred, between Nov. 2 and Dec. 8, 2009, Brown was bureau chief of information systems for the Justice Department, according to a complaint filed in Sacramento Superior Court.
And now, with California’s health insurance/benefits exchange facing a year-end deadline, the exchange is scrambling to fill the position, according to the Sacramento Business Journal.
Despite Brown’s departure, however, Covered California spokesman Dana Howard said there have not been any delays or missed deadlines.
“The project deadlines have [not] slipped due to Jim Brown’s departure,” Howard said via email. “Long before his exit, Covered California made a decision to push back delivery dates for certain enhancements to the system so our team can focus on an on-time delivery of core functionality.”
Despite pushing back delivery dates, however, deadlines have not been missed, he added. “Quite the contrary,” Howard said. “Building of the California Healthcare Eligibility, Enrollment and Retention System (CalHEERS) is ahead of schedule.”
Howard also said that Covered California expects to announce Brown’s replacement soon, and an interim project director has assumed the position until that replacement is found. “Covered California’s launch remains on schedule,” he said.