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2020-058
Opinion Type
Advisory Opinion
Docket Number
2020-058
Requesting Party
Michael Echols
Decision Date
3/6/2020
Law
La. R.S. 42:1113C
La. R.S. 42:1113D
La. R.S. 42:1111C(2)(d)
La. R.S. 42:1112
Caption
Advisory Opinion whereby the Code of Governmental Ethics would not prohibit Vantage health Plan from entering into a contract with the Office of Group Benefits while State Representative Michael Echols and his wife own less than 25% of Vantage Holdings, Inc.
Ethics Subject Matters
Prohibited Contracts
Prohibited Transactions
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STATE OF LOUISIANA
OF LpVlS DEPARTMENT OF STATE CIVIL SERVICE
LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS
P.O.BOX 4368
* * BATON ROUGE,LA 70821
(225)219-5600
«o«•' FAX:(225)381-7271
1-800-842-6630
www.ethics,Ia.gov
March 9, 2020
Michael Echols
State Representative—District 14
1800 Riverside Drive
Monroe, Louisiana 71201
Re: Louisiana Board of Ethics
Docket No. 2020-058
Dear Rep. Echols,
The Louisiana Board of Ethics, at its meeting on March 6, 2020, considered your request for an
advisory opinion as to the application of the Code of Governmental Ethics("Code")to you as State
Representative for District 14 and your employment with Vantage Health Plan, Inc.
FACTS PROVIDED
You and your wife, Christie Echols, own 0.21% of Vantage Holdings, Inc. Your immediate family
members collectively own an additional 1.37% of Vantage Holdings, Inc. The majority owner of
Vantage Holdings, Inc. is Louisiana Health Service & Indemnity Company d/b/a Blue Cross Blue
Shield of Louisiana. Vantage Holdings Inc. owns 100% of Vantage Health Plan, Inc. Your father-
in-law, Dr. Patrick Jones, is the CEO of Vantage Holdings, Inc. and Vantage Health Plan, Inc. You
are currently employed as the Director of Business Development for Vantage Health Plan, Inc. In
January, you took office as State Representative for District 14.
Office of Group Benefits Statutes
i I
The Office of Group Benefits ("OGB"), pursuant to the powers enumerated in La. R.S. 42:802,
has the authority to negotiate contracts with health care providers for the provision of basic health
care services to the employees of the State of Louisiana. La. R.S. 42:802A(8)(d)provides that any
such contract "shall be subject to review and final approval" by the appropriate standing
committees of the legislature having jurisdiction, or the oversight subcommittees, and the Office
of State Procurement of the Division of Administration. La. R.S. 42:802D further provides that
any new plan of benefits shall be "subject to review and final approval by the Joint Legislative
Committee on the Budget" and any adjustments to such contracts in an amount greater than $1
Million shall require the review and approval of the oversight committees before the modified
contracts may be implemented. The contracts are generally effective for an initial period of three
years,,with two additional one-year options available at the decision of OGB. Additionally, La.
R.S. 42:802.1 provides that in the event a health care provider domiciled in La. (and meeting other
Page 1 of 5 (Docket No. 2020-058)
AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER