The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) has been in the news all summer for a variety of issues including leadership turnover and agency dysfunction that has resulted in overpayments totaling more than $100 million.
Here’s a timeline of some of the issues that have affected DHS this summer and fall:
At the end of October, the nonpartisan Legislative Auditor (OLA) released a special review that took a closer look at the $29 million in overpayments to tribal nations.
In its report, the OLA revealed that DHS repeatedly approved a billing practice that effectively resulted in double-billing to the federal government—once for an in-person visit, and multiple additional reimbursements when patients self-administer medication at home.
All of this reveals a state agency in turmoil and makes clear that serious reforms and accountability measures are needed at DHS.
As for the Star Tribune report that DHS violated state law more than 200 times, I think it’s time for the Ramsey County attorney to investigate and determine if individuals should be prosecuted. Additionally, it’s time for the agency to take action and fire any employee who knowingly violated state law, as well as managers who were aware of the behavior and failed to stop it. Failing to fire those responsible sends a message that the status quo is acceptable and that there are no meaningful consequences for violating the public trust, misusing taxpayer dollars, and breaking state law.
Either way, DHS should find the dollars within their own $18 billion budget to pay back the millions of dollars they misspent.
Subcommittee on Legislative Process Reform
On Tuesday, the Subcommittee on Legislative Process Reform held a hearing to discuss ways we can reform the state budget process. Serving as the Republican-lead on the subcommittee is an honor and something I take very seriously.
The legislative process in St. Paul has eroded over time with more power and decision-making authority being concentrated with the Governor, Speaker, and Senate Majority Leader. This is not the way the legislative process was designed and hurts the democratic process.
I am hopeful that this subcommittee will bring several reform proposals to the House Rules Committee once session begins.
Staying in Touch
As always, I encourage you to reach out to me to share your questions and concerns regarding state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-2907 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.