The consortium of schools had been self-insured.
AUSTINTOWN -- An Austintown Fitch High School teacher is questioning a school board member's involvement in a health care plan change.
Irene Flowers spoke at the board's meeting Tuesday about the role Michael Creatore played in getting the Mahoning County Schools Employee Insurance Consortium to seek bids from health care companies after it had kept the same plan manager for 22 years.
The consortium includes the Mahoning County Educational Service Center, Mahoning County Career and Technical Center and all of the school districts in Mahoning County except Youngstown and Sebring.
The consortium had been self-insured, Flowers said. A company called PRM of Boardman had managed the insurance plan.
The consortium accepted a bid from Medical Mutual of Ohio earlier this summer. Flowers said she is concerned because the choice was made through open bidding.
"I have a big problem with open bids," she said. "They can say whatever they want and change it later."
She said that with the PRM-managed plan, the consortium knew exactly what it was getting.
She said that Creatore "bullied everybody here" when he began pushing the consortium to solicit bids for health care.
She also said he should have disclosed that as of June 20, he is a broker for Medical Mutual.
"I'm not saying he's benefiting, but that there could be a conflict of interest," she said.
Creatore said there is no conflict. "At no time do I benefit from the consortium changing hospitalization carriers," he said.
Creatore has no role on the consortium board. But he said he urged it to shop for quotes, and saved it "millions of dollars."
"I forced them -- I was very vocal -- after 22 years, to go to bids," he added.
But he said he never favored Medical Mutual. He said that of 10 companies that submitted bids, he preferred Aetna, and he's not a registered broker with that company.
Creatore said he is a financial planner with a license to sell insurance.