Home > Delta Health Alliance, News > Records: DHA paid Delta Council $1M for ‘administrative’ services

Records: DHA paid Delta Council $1M for ‘administrative’ services

The Delta Health Alliance has paid an average of $272,000 the past four years for an administrative contract with the Delta Council.

Those figures are spelled out in DHA tax returns.

In 2008, DHA paid Delta Council $293,630 for administrative services. In 2009 and 2010, that number dropped to $275,000. For the fiscal year that ended June 30,2011, DHA paid Delta Council $246,125.

In a phone interview in late November, Delta Council executive vice president Chip Morgan told the Mississippi Business Journal the economic development organization provided back-office services for the nonprofit DHA, which provides healthcare for the poor in the Delta.

Roy Campbell III, a Jackson attorney who represents DHA, said in an email that Delta Council has provided accounting and management services that “have included general bookkeeping and accounting services, payroll and check writing services, internal auditing and procurement services, logistics and administrative support for meetings and events, and community liaison work.”

The CEO of DHA, Dr. Karen Fox, is under investigation by Mississippi’s Northern District U.S. Attorney for possible misuse of agency funds. It’s unknown if DHA’s contract with Delta Council is a part of that investigation. Her attorney has said he’s confident Fox will be cleared of any wrongdoing.

Although DHA’s website lists Morgan as an active board member, Campbell said Morgan has not served on the board since 2007, when DHA first issued a request for proposals for accounting and management consulting services.

Of the three responses to the RFP, Campbell said, Delta Council’s was the lowest, coming in at roughly $275,000 annually. The other two, from companies Campbell did not name, were $500,000 and $552,000 annually. Campbell said DHA’s contract with Delta Council is for five years.

Morgan did not respond to calls and text messages to his cell phone last week.

Since 2006, most of DHA’s funding has come via a competitive grant process administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration. Campbell said DHA does not receive its funding through direct appropriations, and the agency has not paid anyone to lobby for funding on its behalf.

In 2006, an appropriation bill for HRSA included $25 million for DHA. A continuing resolution in 2007 stripped funding for the agency. Funding was restored via a provision in the 2008 farm bill that created a USDA Health Care Services competitive grant program that authorized an annual appropriation of $3 million from 2008 to 2012. DHA has successfully competed for some of that funding, which was open to counties in the Mississippi River Delta, according to a spokesperson for Sen. Thad Cochran.

Also in 2008, Cochran was instrumental in securing a $25 million earmark from HRSA for DHA, in the form of a grant. In 2009, Cochran used the same method to secure $26 million for DHA; in 2010, he secured $35 million.

The money dried up in 2011 and 2012, as part of a moratorium enacted after the 2010 midterm elections, when Republicans whose platform included eliminating earmarks won a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Cochran spokesperson Chris Gallegos said records that charted who Cochran met with, or who may have lobbied for DHA’s funding, were not available.

“Over the years, the Cochran office has worked with a number of officials associated with the Delta Health Initiative, just as the senator’s office works with other constituents and groups from Mississippi,” Gallegos wrote in an email. “The exact dates, times and attendees of such meetings over the past six years are not available. Sen. Cochran is, of course, supportive of thorough oversight and accountability for the proper use of all federal funds.”

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  1. notasdumbasyouthink
    December 30th, 2011 at 18:00 | #1

    1. DHA has about 14 experts in finance and administration according to their website. Why would they want or need Delta Council (with one or two book keepers not even experienced in federal accounting) to do their “back office” work? Perhaps “back office” has a different meaning to Mr. Morgan?

    2. Mr. Morgan says he has been off of the Board of DHA since 2007. A quick (un-doctored) review of official Minutes should verify that.

    3. Why have all of the pictures of Delta Council members on the Board at DHA been removed except for Cass Pennington who is the one paid person from Delta Council leadership on the DHA Board? Is their an an attempt to scapegoat this gentleman?

    4. How much has Delta Council been paid between 2001 and 2008?

    The only real question in this situation is to ask and see exactly what Delta Council did for these large sums of Federal dollars. To expand upon that, can they show proof that the contractual services were obtained according to Federal Rules as well as documenting actual services. If not, hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

  2. CuriousnMS
    January 7th, 2012 at 12:49 | #2

    This entire Cochran give away (without any accountability) of taxpayer money to DHA, Delta Council, UMMC, and Allscripts (a Chicago company) stinks to high heaven. Free conversion of UMMC EHRs, if an Obama hometown company gets the contract, and a super-lavish lifestyle for the CEO of DHA going practically unnoticed for at least 6 years are the kind of things the Justice Department should be all over if they weren’t so tied up in South Carolina, for example, with the picture ID for voting issue.

    It sure seems convenient that Sen Cochran’s Office has no record of either when, where, or with whom the Senator met on this subject for more than 6 years. Yet as the above article notes “Sen. Cochran is, of course, supportive of thorough oversight and accountability for the proper use of all federal funds.” (as long as the oversight does not involve him nor anyone he may have met with.) The things Sen. Cochran’s office appear to keep are the records of the press releases announcing the give away of taxpayer funds to his cronies that are, all too often, involved with causes that are designed primarily to perpetuate the Senator’s time in office.

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