CalOptima board chairman Edward B. Kacic said Monday the board acted properly when it discussed in closed session a preliminary assessment of the $1.3-billion health care program for Orange County’s poor.

He said the nine-member board was acting “pursuant to the attorney-client and attorney work-product privileges.”

The Orange County Register last week reported that the confidential assessment by Arthur S. Shorr, a Woodland Hills health care consultant, discovered defects in CalOptima’s organization and management that could cause serious problems.

The Register stated that the board discussion violated California open meeting laws. In his statement, Kacic, president of the Irvine Health Foundation, insisted that the “report was properly discussed by the Board in closed session …”

He said that the discussion was legal because “the disclosure of this work product was unauthorized. As such, there will be no further comment on this document.”

The preliminary report urged a full audit of the agency, which provides health care for more than 400,000 low-income residents, most of them children or the elderly.

From the statement issued by Kacic:

The “Shorr report” is preliminary and the matters contained in it are not necessarily conclusive. This effort was designed to generally identify areas that should be looked into and evaluated in the future. Accordingly, the Board plans to look into these matters in greater detail in the near future.

Last week the Orange County Board Supervisors gave preliminary approval to a plan by Supervisor Janet Nguyen to reorganize the board, expanding it to 11 members and increasing representation of the medical industry.

Her plan will come before supervisors Tuesday for final approval.


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