Online video raises questions about ACA Navigators

Online video raises questions about ACA Navigators

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One employee has been fired and three others suspended after undercover video shows healthcare workers in Texas encouraging people to lie to get better rates.

"That is wrong, I mean that's literally wrong," said Alice Carrillo, a navigator.

When Carrillo saw it for the first time, the allegations became personal.

"It makes it look bad to us because we went through the whole process of training," she said.

The video was released by conservative activist James O'Keefe.

It's undercover footage, he claims his team shot in Dallas, showing navigators encouraging people to lie to get better rates on their health insurance.

The Urban League of Greater Dallas, who runs the navigator program, told us in a statement a part time receptionist has been fired and three navigators in training have been suspended.

In fact, all their navigators are still in training and they say that was conveyed to the undercover applicant, but never shows up in the edited video.

In a statement, Texas Senator John Cornyn is calling for navigator program to end immediately.

"Texans should not be purposefully misled and more importantly, their privacy should not be put at risk," Cornyn said.

"This is really very important this is insurance we're talking about it, the patients are scared and right now they are taking that step to come to us for help," said Carrillo.

She says it's a job every navigator should take seriously.

The Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services oversees the navigator program.

A spokesman says the National Urban League will receive a corrective action letter about their lapse in oversight and internal control processes.

Urban League of Greater Dallas Statement

"We would like to directly address the video footage released by Project Veritas featuring footage from our Dallas and Irving offices and clarify the edited video that has been placed online and distributed to a number of media outlets.  The Urban League of Greater Dallas does not condone, nor would we ever sanction, misleading the public or any individual who seeks our assistance about any issue, and particularly in this case, an issue as critical as health care.  Our organization has taken immediate steps to address the actions of the identified employees and investigate the full context of what occurred in our Dallas and Irving offices.  We are also requesting a copy of the unedited footage of the entire videotaped encounters. 

The part-time receptionist trainee shown in the Irving office was not, nor had ever been, authorized to speak on behalf of The Urban League of Greater Dallas, or as a Navigator, and represented her personal opinion, not that of our organization.   As such and as a result of our investigation thus far, her employment with The Urban League of Greater Dallas has been terminated.  In addition, we support actions by the Department of Health & Human Services to de-certify the three Navigators-in-training featured in the video, and The Urban League of Greater Dallas has suspended these employees until further notice. 

It is our policy to provide correct and factual information about all programs in which we participate, or in the absence of information, to provide referrals to the agencies or organizations that are adequately prepared to address or answer those questions.  As a recent recipient of the Affordable Health Care Navigation Grant, our staff who will serve as Navigators are currently undergoing extensive training that will not be complete for another 10 days.  We take our responsibility as an organization training and deploying Navigators seriously, and as such, our organization has not authorized any of our employees to operate as Navigators at this point.  While this information was conveyed to the undercover applicant and corrective comments were made " in the presence of the undercover applicant " regarding some of the instructions provided by these individuals, unfortunately the full context of these comments is not reflected in the video.  

We have made Navigator training a high priority to ensure that all staff working at the Navigator sites are trained and qualified to assist the many people who seek health care.  We will not sit idly or silently as agenda-driven individuals operating under false pretenses attempt to undermine our efforts to serve those who need it most.   We are proud of our work on behalf of the Greater Dallas community and remain committed to the thousands of under-served individuals and families that the Urban League of Great Dallas serves each year." 

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