INDIANAPOLIS – On Wednesday, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody called on Governor Eric Holcomb to withhold payment from OptumServe until the company met the terms of their state contract. After Holcomb acknowledged Friday the company was not meeting the 48-hour requirement spelled out in the contract, Zody believed the governor needed to send a strong signal that mediocre work product is not acceptable.
“Hoosiers wouldn’t pay for a job half done and neither should Governor Holcomb,” said Zody. “Taxpayers shouldn’t pay a dime more until the company is meeting the terms of contract. Anything less looks like Eric Holcomb is maneuvering to steer taxpayer dollars to a campaign donor.”
The $17 million contract between OptumServe and the state stipulates 90 percent of test results be received by Hoosiers within 48 hours of the their test date. On Friday, the Holcomb administration confirmed that term of the contract wasn’t being met. The contract ties the condition of payment to the state’s ‘reasonable satisfaction’ with the contractor’s performance. Apparently, Holcomb is satisfied with OptumServe’s failure to deliver, because he renewed the contract for another month.
It’s tough to imagine a situation where Hoosiers are satisfied waiting days and days for their COVID-19 test results,” said Zody. “Is Eric Holcomb satisfied with OptumServe’s substandard work? If not, why did he renew their contract?”
The relationship between Governor Holcomb and Optum has been mired in controversy. Holcomb’s re-election campaign accepted a $50,000 contribution from a top Optum exec just weeks before the state awarded the contract. It’s never been made clear whether any other company bid on the testing contract or was even aware of the opportunity.
“Once again, Eric Holcomb looks bought and sold by the folks writing him campaign checks,” said Zody. “Hoosiers are sick and tired of the pay to play politics that appear to underpin every decision this governor makes.”
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dr. Woody Myers agreed it was time for Holcomb to act.
“Hoosiers deserve better,” said Dr. Myers. “Widespread and successful testing is currently the most effective solution we have to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but Governor Holcomb’s administration continues to pay contractors who fail to meet their testing obligations. Inattention and incompetence has crippled the process and hampered our ability to respond. Hoosiers are now paying the cost, both with tax dollars and with our lives.”