Friday, September 25, 2009

GAO report cites state lack of accountability for stimulus funds

A report by the Government Accounting Office released Wednesday raises concerns about states' use of stimulus funds, citing "internal control deficiencies". The report notes the "possible risk for the quality and reliability of these data" received from the states. The three recommendations made in the report all center on the need for "clearer accountability for recipient financial data". The report doesn't mention that three states are under some sort of federal investigation for matters related to mis-use of stimulus funds intended to be spent on Medicaid. Civil suits are pending in six states with a seventh in progress, also all related (although indirectly) to mis-use of Medicaid stimulus funds. Those of us whose lives touch the disability community have been well aware for months that states have been targeting certain Medicaid populations for massive budget cuts. The fact these cuts are proceeding while billions of stimulus dollars sit in state bank accounts is appalling.

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About Me

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I'm the mom of a child with disabilities. Hannah's first neurologist said she might never develop beyond the level of a 2 month old infant, and there wasn't anything I could do about it. The brain damage was just too severe. Nine years later, she walks, uses a touchscreen computer and I've just been shown she can learn to construct sentences and do simple math with the right piece of technology. Along the way, I discovered I needed to teach myself what Hannah's rights to services really were. Learning about early intervention services led to reading about IDEA and then to EPSDT. I've been waiting for the Obama administration to realize the power and potential of EPSDT for the medical rights - including the right to stay at home with their families - of children with disabilities. The health reform people talk about long term care, and the disability people talk about education and employment, but nobody is talking about EPSDT. So I am.