Yesterday’s SIM Consumer Advisory Board (CAB) meeting to choose consumer representatives to SIM committees was again held in secret. An FOI complaint is pending over their lack of transparency. This time applicants were notified that their applications were being reviewed but less than 24 hours before the meeting. One applicant requested, as allowed under state law, to open the meeting and CAB complied by opening the meeting for discussion only of his application. Several speakers gave glowing reviews to his qualifications. The public was then asked to leave again while the CAB made their decision. The public re-entered the room and the CAB voted on a slate of recommended candidates, that did not include the member who received strong endorsements in the only public discussion. Despite the very strong quality of the applicant pool, two consumer representatives appointed to SIM committees include a representative of UConn, which is receiving large grants from SIM, and a person with only experience consulting for the insurance and hospital industries.
Applicants were not notified that they could ask for their application to be discussed in the open. At least one applicant wished they had known; they would have exercised that right.
One member of CAB asked why they were going into secret session to discuss candidates and if other councils did the same. The answer was no, that it is unusual, but that they might be discussing some applicants’ medical information. But that was not the case, according to reports, and the applicants were reportedly alerted in the application that the information they provide could become public.
We will see what the FOI Commission decides, but this doesn’t even come close to a transparent, open process and the taint remains.