Mark Carter

Passport Health Plan officials have announced that Mark Carter will be the Medicaid managed-care firm’s permanent CEO after a tumultuous seven months.

Carter, a certified public accountant who has been at Lexington, Ky.-based accounting firm Dean Dorton Allen Ford and CFO at Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Healthcare, was interim Passport Health Plan CEO since December 1, 2010.

The Beshear Administration brought him in after a state auditor’s report leveled charges of excessive spending, conflicts of interest and questionable transfers back to the non-profit’s creators, Louisville’s major hospital systems. (JHSMH, University of Louisville Hospital, Norton Healthcare and other care providers indirectly control University Health Care Inc., Passport’s operating entity.)

In turn, Carter dismissed the top Passport staffers accused in the report.

The news of his becoming permanent CEO comes on the day Kentucky’s Health & Family Services cabinet announced Passport’s Medicaid managed-care contract has been extended through 2012.

Passport’s previous contract expired last Friday. The company covers about 170,000 people in 16 counties – Jefferson and 15 surrounding counties.

William B. Wagner, interim chairman of Passport’s board since December 2010, stated in a Passport release:

“Mr. Carter has assisted the board in addressing each and every finding and recommendation in the governor’s Corrective Action Plan, and has led the staff through a period of extreme uncertainty and change in an exemplary manner. His knowledge of the state Medicaid program and his commitment to assist the vulnerable citizens Passport serves have been invaluable. We are fortunate to have Mark Carter as our leader as the organization is recovering and preparing for future growth.”

“The last seven months have been challenging but I have been pleased to work with the board of directors and the staff at Passport Health Plan,” Carter stated in the release. “Everyone at Passport is dedicated to providing the best possible care for the plan’s 170,000 members.

“The staff is comprised of an outstanding group of people committed to serving the Plan’s members. The Board has worked tirelessly to turn the plan around and I am proud to join them as a permanent member of the team.”

Carter has 31 years of experience in the healthcare industry, according to the releaes. He was formerly managing director of Dean Dorton Allen Ford’s Louisville office; Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s Healthcare as CFO; and Ernst and Young as a partner and leader of its Kentucky Health Care Consulting practice.

“While we are disappointed to see Mark leave our firm, we are certainly thrilled for him and this opportunity to lead Passport,” said Richard O. Dorton, president and CEO of Dean Dorton Allen Ford. “Without a doubt, Mark has demonstrated his expertise and will continue to be an asset to Passport and its members.”

Carter is chairman of the Health Enterprises Network and Treasurer of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. He received his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Kentucky.