ST. PAUL, MN—The non-partisan Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) released a special review Tuesday detailing more than $29 million in improper payments made by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) over a five year period 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."
Rep. John Poston, R-Lake Shore, issued the following statement regarding the special review.
"Today’s report from the non-partisan Legislative Auditor reveals a blatant disregard for Minnesota taxpayers. DHS needs to take responsibility for their mistakes and repay the $29 million owed to the federal government from within their own $18 billion budget. It’s clear that a serious culture change and accountability measures are needed at DHS. I remain committed to making sure that state government respects taxpayers as we work to rein in this bloated state agency.”
$29 million represents just .0016% of the $18 billion biennial DHS budget.