City investigates complaint that health care provider didn't contract with women-, minority-owned businesses

Baltimore City officials are investigating a complaint filed Wednesday by two minority- and women-owned businesses against health care giant Aetna for not using their services despite a contractual agreement to do so.

Thomas B. Corey, chief of Baltimore's Minority & Women's Business Opportunity Office, said he will research why Aetna did not use the subcontractors, CASI Inc. and JUL Enterprise, despite committing to when it applied for the city contract. Corey must report back to the city's Board of Estimates within 30 days.

Aetna, which has provided health care insurance for city employees since 2008, said it is working with minority- and women-owned business subcontractors as part its contract with the city, company spokeswoman Cynthia Michener said. She said Aetna will cooperate fully with the city on its investigation into the complaint.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she is concerned about any potential noncompliance.

"My fear is that some of these companies that have long standing relationships with the city, I would hate to see them take advantage of it," the mayor said. "Because they know that if you punish Aetna, you're punishing workers as well that are using that service."

Representatives for CASI Inc. and JUL Enterprise couldn't be reached for comment.

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