With so many problems, the exchange has nearly doubled the number of people answering questions via telephone, (855) 366-7873. More than 90 people are on MNsure phone duty.
The wait time for people calling Monday afternoon was 45 minutes, down from nearly an hour at times last week.
With that critical 1/1/2014 deadline looming, it would stand to reason that it would be "all hands on deck" to ensure all issues are rectified by the time the new year rolls around. I guess the "all in" mentality doesn't necessarily apply to the organization's leader.
On Sunday, KSTP-TV in the Twin Cities reported that MNsure Executive Director April Todd-Malmlov vacationed in Costa Rica with Jim Golden, who leads the Minnesota Medical Assistance program. They work for different agencies, but policies available on MNsure cover Minnesotans receiving MA benefits.Yes, I'm sure Ms. Todd-Malmlov being available via phone and email was of great comfort to those MNSure employees grinding away back here in Minnesota, to say the least of disgruntled consumers.
MNsure and the Department of Human Services, where Golden works, said there was no conflict of interest in their relationship. The Star Tribune reports that they live together in St. Paul.
MNsure officials indicated that Todd-Malmlov's vacation was fine with them. A MNsure statement said: “Members of the MNsure Board were aware of her absence. She was available via phone and email and communicated with staff on a daily basis, providing leadership and direction as needed.”
Look, I have no doubt that the E.D. has been under tremendous strain and scrutiny since the MN healthcare exchange became law nearly a year ago. There's no doubt that she likely needed a break. But with the utter disaster that has been the government takeover of healthcare both at the federal and state levels, as well as the aforementioned critical deadline, could this vacation have been anymore ill-timed? Could you imagine if a key figure in a CPA firm took a two week vacation around late February, early March with April 15 as a known deadline to have income taxes filed? Such a request would be laughed at, much less honored. But hey, MNSure is funded with taxpayer money. It'll still be flowing in regardless of who's running the ship there.
Oh, and did you see that blurb that Ms. Todd-Malmlov and Jim Golden (the gentleman with whom she was vacationing) of the MN Medical Assistance Program live together in St Paul? Yep. I guess this utter farce just wouldn't be complete without a tabloid feel to it.