Despite all of the hearings into Minnesota’s Department of Human Services, this article hints that what’s been discovered thus far is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The article starts by saying “A top official at the Minnesota Department of Human Services has told Legislative Auditor James Nobles that recent overpayments to two Indian bands represented just ‘one example’ of wider dysfunction in the agency’s oversight of millions of dollars in state and federal money.” That isn’t difficult to believe.

Later in the article, it states “In an interview Friday, Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead said she is on track to release a promised plan to address the agency’s problems in early December. She also is interviewing candidates with management experience to fill two assistant commissioner jobs, including one overseeing health care. We are working to be tough on the process and supportive and encouraging of our people, and trying to get that into the culture here.”

The people that are currently part of DHS are the problem. If they hadn’t screwed things up with program after program, Minnesota wouldn’t be in this fiasco. Minnesota isn’t alone in terms of Medicaid fraud but Minnesota is a leader in the worst way. This is frightening:

“No single person knows everything that is going on in DHS related to Medicaid” is what Marquardt, the assistant Medicaid director, told the Office of the Legislative Auditor, according to a summary of her comments obtained by the Star Tribune. Marquardt also described frosty relationships between Medicaid and other DHS divisions. “Our presence was not always welcomed,” Marquardt told the auditor’s office. “There is a culture of keeping HCA out of the business of the other divisions,” according to the summary.

Throw into this hot mess the fact that the DFL has a problem with Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles:

Thankfully, Mr. Nobles set the record straight on why he made the statements and characterizations that he did. It’s difficult to picture a department that’s been more mismanaged than DHS. Thank God Mr. Nobles editorialized a little so that it got people’s attention. It might make people uncomfortable but it got their attention. When a house is on fire, it’s ok to blast the sirens because you aren’t worried about waking up the neighbors.

2 Responses to “How big is the DHS mess?”

  • eric z says:

    Big already. More shoes to drop? They should treat the spending as if it were their money, not public funds. It is a shameful situation which did not simply get bad overnight. There was top-down neglect, but the systemic problem seems bottom-up in the main – but with a failure to recognize ossified ways and means being insufficient. Heads should roll.

  • Gary Gross says:

    I agree, Eric. This was bottom-up mostly.

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