UnitedHealth stock sinks CA HMO regulator

UnitedHealth stock is at the center of another controversy, this time outside of its boardroom. In this case, the state of California has set plans to fire a top HMO regulator who held UnitedHealth Group stock while participating in the approval of its $9.2 billion acquisition of PacifiCare Health Systems. The regulator, Kevin Donohue, deputy director of the Department of Managed Health Care, is on paid administrative leave while he awaits a disciplinary hearing. The state says Donohue should have recused himself from the four-month acquisition approval process, which worked to ensure that PacifiCare's 3.2 million members neither lost benefits nor paid higher premiums to finance the buyout. Donohue, meanwhile, who is appealing the decision, says he complied with all of the state's conflict-of-interest and disclosure requirements, filing notice of his UnitedHealth holdings each year since 2002. In a 2005 filing, he disclosed that he owned between $10,000 and $100,000 worth of UnitedHealth stock. He also contends that his bosses, not he, made the actual decisions in approving the deal.

To get more info on the firing:
- read this report in the Los Angeles Times