An evangelical pro-life organization in Texas may be forced to pay a million and a half dollars in fines for violations.
According to Relevant Magazine, the Heidi Group, the pro-life organization contracted by the state to provide women’s health service resources, may have misused taxpayer funds.
The Heidi Group also overpaid subcontractors and operated without oversight, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Office of Inspector General said.
In 2016, the Heidi Group was awarded a $1.6 million contract with the state of Texas to provide women’s healthcare resources to low-income residents. The Heidi Group was tasked with building those health care resources after state laws forced the closure of women’s health clinics that violated Texas’ abortion law.
The Heidi Group said it would provide women’s health resources to about 51,000 low-income women in the state. A state audit, however, found that the work by the organization only helped about 2,300 women.
In a separate $5.1 million contract with the state, the Health and Human Services Commission said the organization only helped about 1,000 people. The contract was for the state’s Family Planning Program which was supposed to help some 18,000 people.
“The difference in the number of recipients served and the funds expended implies that the Heidi Group mismanaged grant funds under both contracts,” the HHSC report said.
A report from the Houston Chronicle also found that the Heidi Group “ paid medical providers hundreds of thousands in excess fees, had overspent on payroll and fringe benefits, and had expensed thousands in unallowable costs like food, gift cards, clothing and retail membership fees.”
Heidi Group CEO Carol Everett, however, said the investigation is preliminary.
“Neither I as the CEO or any of my financial people has ever been interviewed [by HHSC Office of Inspector General],” she said. “This is a very preliminary report and we did everything as approved in our contract.”
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Stevan Ovicigor
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.