Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hawaii Governor unaware or unconcerned of federal investigations of DHS

Governor Abercrombie's health policy analyst Michael Ng admitted yesterday the governor is unaware of any of the ongoing federal investigations targeting DHS and its administration of Medicaid and Medicare.

One of two things has happened: either the state's Medicaid bureaucrats have hidden the information from the governor; or the governor has adopted an ostrich position of what he doesn't know about he doesn't have to do anything about.

Specific federal investigations Ng denied knowledge of included the following:

* six investigations by the Office for Civil Rights, including two opened in May;

* CMS investigation of potential Medicare fraud at DHS;

* on-going personal visits and phone calls from federal regulatory officials;

* on-going federal regulatory violations by the health plans about which DHS is doing nothing.

Documentation was provided to Ng. It will be interesting to see if that gets to the Governor's desk.

The information came out at a meeting yesterday between Ng and a group composed of lawyers, social workers, nurses, and the children with disabilities and their families who will be hardest hit if the governor does not veto SB 1274. Parents were literally pleading for their children's lives if access to the state's independent insurance division appeals process is denied them.

Abercrombie's campaign website is still up, and his campaign promises for healthcare, civil rights and human services are there. The difference between what he said and the message of his failure to veto SB 1274 is striking.

Monday is the deadline and the state still has not asked the feds if they really need to repeal H.R.S. 432E-6 in order to meet federal Affordable Care Act requirements.

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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.