Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hawaii Medicaid employee says FBI investigating deaths from budget cuts

According to a long-time employee of the Hawaii Department of Human Services, the FBI has been investigating almost forty deaths that have occured in the past year linked to cuts in Medicaid services enacted by UnitedHealth (Evercare) and Wellcare (Ohana).

My source says the list ranges from infants to the elderly.  This list is representative of the 36% increase in deaths of Medicaid enrollees I reported yesterday has occurred since UnitedHealth and Wellcare took over Hawaii's medicaid program on February 1, 2009.

I was also told that Martin Boegel is not the first criminal victim whose problems could possibly be linked to UnitedHealth or Wellcare not assigning a physician who could authorize their medications.

The FBI investigation was begun some time last fall, it seems.

I have emailed the FBI agents who I have been told are involved in this investigation. Here is part of the text of that email:

On Monday, the Criminal Investigation Office at DOJ did suggest that I contact the FBI directly regarding a current investigation of [name redacted] in Hawaii.

If the FBI or DOJ are already actively investigating issues related to Hawaii's QExA program, the public needs to know.  If the FBI or DOJ are already investigating the list of more than twenty people who reportedly died from care-related issues under QExA, the public needs to know.

Certainly the forty-some thousand aged, disabled and blind enrolled in Evercare or Ohana, along with their families and caregivers, deserve to be made aware that the life and death decisions currently being enacted by the two companies may not be in their best interests.

[Name redacted] avoidable death in March, and the Boegel shooting on Sunday, demonstrate that.

I look forward to receiving your response.

We all do.  

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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.