Official resigns after Medicaid takes actio
WASHINGTON – The head of the federal office responsible for providing women with access to contraceptives and counseling to prevent pregnancy resigned unexpectedly Thursday after Medicaid officials took action against him in Massachusetts.The Health and Human Services Department provided no details about the nature of the Massachusetts action that led to Dr. Eric Keroack’s resignation.Just five months ago, Keroack was chosen by President Bush to oversee HHS’ Office of Population Affairs and its $283 million annual budget. The pick angered Planned Parenthood and other groups that support abortion rights, which viewed him as opposed to birth control and comprehensive sex education. Keroack had worked for an organization that opposes contraception.”Yesterday, Dr. Eric Keroack alerted us to an action taken against him by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Office of Medicaid. As a result of this action I accepted his resignation,” Dr. John Agwunobi, assistant secretary for health, said in a terse statement Thursday evening.Massachusetts Medicaid officials did not return phone calls seeking comment.Keroack’s office oversees family planning services provided through the Title X program. Services include screening for breast and cervical cancer, as well as treatment for sexually transmitted disease. Services are provided on a sliding scale based on income, and no one is refused service based on inability to pay.Keroack told his staff in a letter Thursday that he became aware of action being taken against his private medical practice in Massachusetts. He said he immediately hired an attorney to initiate an appeal. He did not elaborate on why the action was taken.”My attorney feels confident that misunderstandings have occurred and that upon further review of the facts during the appeals process, this action will be reversed,” he wrote. “However, the appeals process will present a significant distraction to my ability to remain focused on my duties.”Keroack said he discussed the matters with his superiors Wednesday afternoon. He offered his resignation, he said, and they accepted it.A physician profile published by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine states that Keroack’s private practice is based in Marblehead, Mass. It also states that Keroack had no criminal convictions or disciplinary action taken against him in the last 10 years.Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called on the Bush administration to appoint as a successor a “medical professional who actually believes in birth control to lead the nation’s family-planning program.”
Support Local Journalism
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User