Printed in the Clarion Edict.
The PPH (12/13/11) reported that the “Maine Medicaid deficit is mostly the result of a series of technical budgeting miscalculations, according to a report prepared by the LePage administration.” Miscalculations?
The state Department of Health and Human Services is facing a $221 million budget deficit for this fiscal year and the next says DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew.
In a press release (12/12/11) Governor LePage’s “plan protects and preserves services for Maine’s most vulnerable while addressing Medicaid’s out of control spending” while the “Democrats would rather ignore the problem altogether.” Surprised? Not I.
Governor LePage defended the cuts in his radio address, “drawing a response by Democrats who labeled them “irresponsible and shortsighted.””
As the lawmakers are trying to dissect the causes of a projected $220 million budget shortfall in the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, let’s shine some light on past history with DHS and Medicaid. We find ourselves in the same situation when (former) Kevin Concannon was Commissioner of DHS during the tenure of Governor John Baldacci (D). On September 17, 2003 PPH reported “State finds $37 million DHS snafu. The state has uncovered a $37 million budget problem at the Department of Human Services, just months after state officials and a consultant found millions of dollars in accounting mistakes in a separate program at the DHS.The latest problem involves a series of errors in the Medicaid program that occurred over a period of years and finally came to light this year.” Is this a mere “miscalculation?” In March 2003, Kevin Concannon left DHS and was appointed by Governor Vilsack to serve as the Director for the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS). A consultant was hired to help figure out what happened to the money. Gov. John Baldacci said that there was “no inkling of any wrongdoing or any malfeasance in the latest DHS incident, but he and a top aide detailed several costly errors that add up to $37 million.”
Is this deja vu all over again? The LePage administration has introduced a supplemental budget addressing the Medicaid shortfall which will affect the safety net of Maine’s most vulnerable and needy. As both parties dicker over the reasons for the shortfall, it’s time for oral extractions. Maine could have prevented truth decay had our politicians taken action on the evidence presented to them regarding the fraud, waste and abuse of Medicaid funding.
I repeatedly requested a full investigation into Medicare and Medicaid payments that were paid out in excess for prescription drugs, that were not needed, medical equipment that was not needed and stays at a local hospital and nursing home against the will of my mother, all at the expense of the taxpayers.The abuse that has gone on in this case goes beyond all bounds of decency and the refusal of our elected officials to stop this abuse is a disgraceful PUBLIC SCANDAL.
Governor John Baldacci had years to work on health care issues to include Medicaid funding and elder abuse which continues today. However, he chose instead to further his personal agenda with the help of his campaign contributors, ie. North Country Associates, at the expense of taxpayers and the precious lives of our family members. It is critical that this information be reported, as the mainstream media has failed to do so, and share the truth with the public to avoid futher decay. Our representatives only report what they want us to hear.
What are the real truths and facts that lie behind closed doors beyond sight of the public view? As Governor LePage revamps the DHS, it’s imperative that he dismiss the ”problem” people left over from the Baldacci administration. This raises reasonable questions about the impact on Maine people. “The Governor has made difficult and painful decisions to correct an ongoing deficit that has been neglected in the last decade” and is looking for solutions. He could start by investigating the “miscalcuations” of monies given to a corporation that was not licensed at the time of receipt of Medicaid funding (1998), the unnecessary prescribed medications and the holding of elderly patients against their will in order to profit and gain financially and recoupt the funding. If health care institutions don’t keep records of patients, how do they receive Federal funding? There is a smell to this!
I brought these serious concerns regarding possible Medicaid fraud to Senator Susan Collins. As Chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Senator Collins thanked me for contacting her and that was the end of that!
There is need for a citizens review board to oversee DHS agencies and hold officials accountable for wrongdoings to prevent any further moral or truth decay.
“Every violation of truth is not only a sort of suicide in the liar, but is a stab at the health of human society.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.” Thomas Jefferson