A woman with an outstanding warrant for her arrest is currently serving as an Obamacare “navigator” in Lawrence, Kansas.
Rosilyn Wells — the Director of Outreach and Enrollment for the Heartland Community Health-care Center (HCHC) — is “the only full-time Affordable Care Act navigator in Lawrence,” according to the Lawrence Journal-World.
Wells works as an “outreach and enrollment assister” for a division within the Department of Health and Human Services called Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). A press release for HRSA says its programs “complement and align with other federal efforts, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services-funded Navigator program.” Her work involves enrolling people in the Affordable Care Act and helping them understand their choices, and it entails the same access to sensitive financial and health information as a navigator — leading observers to define “assister” as another name for “navigator.”
Wells was certified as an Obamacare navigator despite her financial history, which includes a bankruptcy in 2003, a 2007 civil charge from a local check cashing business called Midwest Checkrite for writing a bad check, being more than $1700 behind on her state tax bill, and having an outstanding arrest warrant in nearby Shawnee County. Wells lives and works in Douglass County.
Reached by phone, The Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office would not elaborate on the specific charges related to Wells’ arrest warrant.
Navigators are creations of the federal government and they are paid to work closely with consumers — and their personal information — to help them navigate the newly-created Obamacare exchanges.
The Obamacare navigator program has fallen under heavy criticism for its privacy pitfalls, with the House Oversight Committee issuing a report only two weeks ago which warned that navigators would not be properly vetted to protect consumers.
The report pointed out navigators would have access to all sorts of personal data.
“[T]he main concern for consumers is the heightened risk of identity theft and financial loss from a poorly managed outreach campaign,” the Oversight Committee report said. “Navigators and Assisters will come into contact with a plethora of personally identifiable information (PII), including an applicant’s Social Security number, date of birth and income, as well as the PII of everyone in an applicant’s household.”
The Obama administration’s decision not to require background checks for navigators compounds the privacy risks, the Oversight Committee wrote.
“In part, substantial risks remain because the Administration decided not to require background checks and fingerprinting of individuals hired by Navigator and Assister organizations,” the committee wrote. “Under the Administration’s plan, unless states have already taken actions to protect their citizens, Navigators and Assisters are not prohibited from hiring convicted felons, including individuals convicted of identity theft or fraud.”