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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

On Tuesday the non-partisan Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) released a special review detailing more than $29 million in improper payments made by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) over five years to two tribes for addiction treatment services.

The audit found that DHS repeatedly signaled approval for a billing practice that effectively caused double-billing to the federal government—once for an in-person visit and multiple additional reimbursements when patients self-administer medication at home.

The special review blamed "troubling dysfunction" at DHS, noting the agency "did not have legal authority to make the payments; it did not document why, when, and who decided it was appropriate to make the payments; no one at DHS takes responsibility for the decision; and no one at DHS can provide a rationale for the payments. The overpayments continued over several years and did not stop until an outside inquiry brought them to light."

The report reveals a blatant disregard for Minnesota taxpayers and DHS needs to take responsibility for their mistake and repay the $29 million owed to the federal government from their own $18 billion budget.

The $29 million owed represents just .0016% of the $18 billion biennial DHS budget, so DHS should be more than capable of finding the money in their budget to cover the costs of their incompetence and mismanagement.

It’s clear that a serious culture change and accountability measures are needed at DHS and I remain committed to making sure that state government respects taxpayers as we work to rein in bloated state agencies like DHS.

Stay tuned for more information on this as I am sure the $29 million in overpayments will play an important role in the upcoming legislative session as it is determined how the money will be paid back and what reforms will be instituted at DHS.

Staying in Touch

It is an honor to serve you and your family in St. Paul.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me to share your thoughts, questions, and concerns. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4229 or via email at rep.glenn.gruenhagen@house.mn

Have a great weekend,

Glenn

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