Obama Appoints Top Donor To Key Health Post
AUGUST 05, 2009
President Barack Obama has quietly named a multimillionaire campaign donor whose company will benefit handsomely from stimulus funds to a top position at the Department of Health and Human Services.
The founder of a hugely profitable web-based physician billing company, Todd Park, contributed the maximum allowed by federal law to Obama’s presidential campaign as well as his transition team and inauguration committee. He subsequently gave an additional $30,000 to the Democratic National Committee, according to a news report.
Park’s company (Athenahealth Inc.) is a multi million-dollar enterprise that undoubtedly stands to profit from Obama’s stimulus plan since it allocates $19 billion to support the adoption of electronic medical records. Athenahealth is considered one of the nation’s top firms in the field of health care information technology. The Massachusetts-based company made $139.6 million last year and Park owns roughly $45 million in stock.
As Chief Technology Officer at the Department of Health and Human Services, Park is expected to devise innovative and creative methods of increasing the use of technology to manage the nation’s medical information. To supposedly avoid a conflict of interest, he will resign from Athenahealth’s board this month and will divest his stock and other financial interests in the company.
An Athenahealth press release touting Park’s new role in the Obama Administration says he will report to Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services William Corr and assures that he will recues himself from matters involving the company. The White House, which has kept Park’s appointment suspiciously quiet, has refused to comment on the matter.
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