Dear Friends and Neighbors,
First off, I’d like to congratulate Lake City’s Ava Wallerich and Emma Brunkow for making it to the quarterfinals of the girls Class A state tennis doubles tournament, and Red Wing’s Grace Johnson for making it to the state’s cross country meet for the third time in the past four years. What fantastic accomplishments by these young women. My congratulations for representing southeastern Minnesota so well at your respective state tournaments.
Also worth noting: Visient Inc., which helps provide care solutions and services, has presented Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing with a 2019 Community Hospital award. It received recognition as the Number 2 hospital of its size across the country for safety and quality outcomes. This is the 4th year in a row that Red Wing has been either Number 1, 2, or 3 in the nation. Congratulations!
MINNESOTA HOUSE CAPITAL INVESTMENT COMMITTEE MAKES SOUTHEASTERN MINNESOTA STOPS
The Minnesota House Capital Investment Committee toured our district recently to learn more about area bonding projects that are under consideration for statewide investment next session.
Lake City is seeking bonding funds to rehabilitate and renovate the Lake Pepin area among other needs. Cannon Falls is looking for support for the Cannon Valley Trail to protect it from erosion and damage from major rainfall. Red Wing is seeking funds for infrastructure upgrades on old west Main Street and along Bay Point Park.
I thank committee members for traveling to southeastern Minnesota and hearing directly from the city leaders who support these projects.
MORE TROUBLE IN DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES
On Tuesday, the non-partisan Legislative Auditor unveiled a special review of the $29 million in improper payments made by the Department of Human Services to two tribal governments for addiction services over a period of five years.
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."
As many others have said since the news, taxpayers should not be paying for DHS dysfunction. It receives $19 billion every two years in its budget, it should be able to find $29 million to make amends for this embarrassing news. Once again, accountability and reorganization is needed desperately in this agency. Minnesotans deserve nothing less.
PROACT CELEBRATES 50 YEAR ANNIVERSARY
I was so pleased to present a House resolution to ProAct in Red Wing recently, honoring their 50 years of service to Minnesotans with disabilities.
According to the organization, first known as Interstate Rehabilitation Center, it accepted its first participant on September 1, 1969. IRC eventually became ProAct when it merged with Eagan-based Owobopte in 2002.
The nonprofit has helped thousands of people and their families in the five-county area over its history. It teaches life, job, social and safety skills to people with disabilities, enriching their lives by preparing them for success and believing in their potential.
Congratulations Pro Act, and may you have even more success in the decades ahead!
STAYING IN TOUCH
As always, if you have questions or concerns regarding any issue, please contact me. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-8635.