The departure of a high-level official with the Department of Health and Human Services who oversees contracting is unrelated to a scathing audit of the department’s mismanagement of Healthcare.gov contracts, a department spokeswoman told TheBlaze Friday after a week of back and forth questioning.
Nancy Gunderson, the HHS deputy assistant secretary of Grants and Acquisition Policy and Accountability, is leaving the department at the end of March to take a civilian job with the U.S. Navy in San Diego, HHS spokeswoman Carla Daniels told TheBlaze.
The Office of Grants and Acquisition Policy and Accountability has a “functional oversight role” over all HHS contracting offices, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) which was faulted in the report by the HHS Office of Inspector General on Obamacare’s contracting problems.
Daniels added that Gunderson’s office sets “over-arching acquisition policies and standards” for contracting and acquisitions, but “does not get directly involved in or have oversight over specific acquisitions, such as the federal marketplace.”
After TheBlaze first inquired Monday if Gunderson’s exit was a result of the IG report, Daniels said she would try to get a statement. On Tuesday, she said “Ms. Gunderson has recently accepted another position. She is currently still employed with HHS thru March 2015.”
TheBlaze followed up on Wednesday and Thursday with the original question, as to whether the HHS Inspector General report was related to her departure. Daniels responded Thursday she was still working on the information. On Friday, Daniels responded that Gunderson “has accepted a position with the Department of the Navy.” And she answered “No,” as to whether her departure was related to the IG report.
The IG report released last month, was titled, “Federal Marketplace: Inadequacies in Contract Planning and Procurement.”
The report said the CMS Office of Acquisition and Grants Management failed to develop an acquisition strategy for the Obamacare marketplace; did not mitigate risks; and did not perform adequate background checks of past performances on Healthcare.gov contractors. CMS was originally estimated to the cost of six key contracts to be $464 million. But, as of by early 2014, CMS had updated the estimated by almost double to $824 million.