Privatized services stumbling
Defenders say savings, efficiency in social aid programs will take time
Sunday, May 28, 2006
By ROBERT T. GARRETT
The Dallas Morning News AUSTIN – Texas' health and welfare agencies are undertaking the most sweeping and rapid privatization of social services in the country, but the experiments are plagued with problems.
Tens of thousands of aid recipients can't get through to privately run call centers. Thousands more poor families are complaining that their children were wrongly denied health insurance. At state hospitals and schools for the mentally impaired, head nurses must slog through new and burdensome online payroll duties. ...Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, an independent candidate for governor, has accepted the invitation of one moderate Republican and two liberal Democrats in the Legislature to scrutinize the call center contract. She has accused Mr. Perry of implementing the plan "in haste" and has said the contract creates conditions ideal for "profiteering.".... [more]