On Tuesday, the non-partisan Legislative Auditor (OLA) released a highly anticipated special review looking into $29 million in improper payments made by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) to two tribal governments for addiction services.
The report found 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.
In the special review, the OLA blamed "troubling dysfunction" at DHS, noting the agency "did not have legal authority to make the payments”. The overpayments continued over several years and did not stop until an outside inquiry discovered them.
News of the improper payments emerged during a tumultuous summer that saw DHS plagued with scandal. The start of the summer was met with the abrupt resignation of Commissioner Tony Lourey, who left after only a few months on the job.
Lourey’s abrupt resignation was only the beginning. Here is a quick rundown of everything that has happened at DHS this summer:
It’s clear that there is a serious cultural and accountability problem at DHS and I am supportive of a full forensic audit to get to the bottom of these problems. One thing is certain, Minnesota taxpayers should not be on the hook to pay back DHS’ $29 million mistake. They should instead find the $29 million from within their own $18 billion budget.
Stay tuned for more information on this as it is sure to play a significant role during the upcoming legislative session.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me to share your thoughts or concerns. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4333 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great weekend,