AUSTIN – The director of Texas’ massive state health agency personally pushed lawmakers to approve a $90 million extension of a major contract even after news reports showed the initial deal was awarded without competition and potentially subject to conflicts of interest, officials acknowledged Wednesday to the Houston Chronicle.
The director, former Houston state senator Kyle Janek, a prominent appointee of Gov. Rick Perry’s, last month wrote a letter to members of the Legislative Budget Board and called the offices of some to encourage them to support the extension, the agency said. Among those contacted was state House Speaker Joe Straus, according to his office.
At the time, the board was weighing whether to allow the Medicaid fraud detection agreement with Austin technology company 21CT to grow from $20 million to $110 million.