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Jindal health secretary resigns amid investigation

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 29, 2013 at 5:51 pm •  Published: March 29, 2013

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's health secretary and close ally, Bruce Greenstein, is resigning amid ongoing state and federal investigations into the awarding of a Medicaid contract to a company where Greenstein once worked, officials said Friday.

The Jindal administration canceled the nearly $200 million contract with Maryland-based CNSI last week after details leaked of a federal grand jury subpoena involving the contract award.

The governor's office announced Greenstein's decision, saying his resignation from the $236,000-a-year post takes effect May 1. Jindal spokesman Kyle Plotkin said the governor didn't ask Greenstein to leave his position as secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals.

Greenstein offered no explanation in his two-page resignation letter, instead recounting his accomplishments and thanking the governor. He didn't respond to messages Friday seeking further comment.

"This state's gracious people and generous culture have left a permanent and meaningful impact on the lives of my family and me. I am grateful for our time here and I will forever remember this period of our lives with fondness and pride," he wrote to Jindal.

When the Medicaid contract was awarded two years ago, Greenstein denied any involvement in the selection.

But he acknowledged under questioning from lawmakers in his 2011 confirmation hearing that a change he pushed in the bid solicitation made CNSI eligible for the Medicaid contract. He also met with a top CNSI official within days of taking the health secretary's job.

Greenstein worked for CNSI from 2005 to 2006.

The state attorney general's office has said the 10-year contract for Medicaid claims processing and bill payment was improperly handled, and it is conducting its own criminal investigation into the contract award.

David Caldwell, head of the attorney general's public corruption unit, said there was inappropriate contact between CNSI and DHH employees, among other issues.

Greenstein's resignation leaves Jindal without the chief defender of his opposition to the Medicaid expansion under the federal health care law, as state lawmakers are pushing against the rejection.

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