Gov. Walz confirms DHS has overpaid tribal groups $25M since 2014

The overpayment was revealed by the Pioneer Press on Thursday.
Author:
Publish date:

Gov. Tim Walz has confirmed a media report that the Minnesota Department of Human Service has been overpaying two tribal bands to the tune of more than $25 million.

The overpayment was first reported on Thursday by the Pioneer Press, which obtained memos that the DHS had overpaid the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and White Earth Nation $25.3 million for substance abuse therapy treatments covered under Medicaid.

The newspaper notes that the DHS "reimbursed tribes for in-person visits with health care providers when the patients were actually self-administering the medication at home."

In a statement sent to BMTN, Gov. Walz revealed that this overpayment stretches back 5 years to the time of the Dayton administration, which he says was uncovered by his administration after he took office in January.

"When I first took office, I directed my new commissioners to surface issues within their agencies. The Department of Human Services uncovered this problem which had been going on for the last five years.

"My Administration finds problems, and we deal with them. That is why we are confronting this issue head on. As of May, the payment structure was corrected, and the problem was stopped. We are now taking a deeper dive to figure out the root of this issue and help ensure nothing like it happens again."

Walz says the Office of the Legislative Auditor will be conducting an investigation into the overpayment.

Sign up: Subscribe to our daily Bring Me The Newsletters

White Earth Nation also released a statement on Thursday, criticizing the DHS and Walz Administration for a "lack of meaningful consultation" regarding the DHS payments.

It also says that since the payment structure was created by the DHS and the State, there should be "shared responsibility" for the overpayments.

It adds that some of its officers who were responsible for billing within the tribe have resigned amid audits it commissioned in 2018 and 2019, while its Behavioral Health Director has been placed on investigative suspension.

But in a statement, acting DHS commissioner Pam Wheelock said the department "immediately provided clarification on bill" after learning of the overpayment in spring.

"DHS is now determining the estimated amount over payment, has informed the tribes, and is working with them to determine the final amount.

"DHS is reviewing internal processes and policy guidance to determine how the overpayments occurred, what role DHS may have played and how to prevent them from happening again."

Next Up

Rennia Davis

Lynx select Rennia Davis in 2021 WNBA Draft

The Tennessee wing was selected ninth overall

Screen Shot 2021-04-15 at 7.08.23 PM

Appeal to find girl, 14, missing from Benson

Cienna Pittman went missing Tuesday.

Miguel Sano

Walk-off win for Twins snaps 5-game losing streak

Miguel Sano homered, but Max Kepler had the winning hit.

alatus

St. Paul mayor vetoes council's denial of $57M apartment complex

The project has raised affordable housing and gentrification concerns, but the mayor says all types of housing are needed in St. Paul.

Michael Pierce

Coller: Michael Pierce is a breath of fresh air for the Vikings

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.

protest, Daunte Wright

In letter, Hennepin Sheriff asks Brooklyn Center: Do you still want our help?

Dave Hutchinson has asked Mayor Mike Elliott whether the city still needs help from other law enforcement agencies.

Image from iOS (1)

Fatal crash closes eastbound Hwy. 62 in Minneapolis

The closure is expected to be in place for an "extended period of time."

police tape, crime scene

Boy, 15, identified as 1 of 2 killed in shooting after crash in Minneapolis

The shooting happened after two vehicles crashed around 2 a.m. April 12.

Related

MN Department of Human Services (DHS)

'Dysfunction' at DHS led to $29M overpayments to tribal groups

The results of an audit investigation were released on Tuesday.

Screen Shot 2019-08-12 at 9.58.10 AM

Gov. Tim Walz appoints new DHS commissioner

Former commissioner Tony Lourey resigned last month.

Gov. Tim Walz to hire outside consultant as he looks at breakup of DHS

The embattled department has been the subject of several controversies this year.

Claire Wilson DHS

DHS deputy commissioner reverses decision, will resign after all

Claire Wilson will leave the department this Friday.

COVID closure

Gov. Walz confirms 4-week shutdown of dining, gyms, gatherings, weddings

A month of enhanced restrictions will go into effect Friday.

Governor Tim Walz

Gov. Walz to announce school plans at Thursday press conference

The governor will reveal the state's guidance for school reopenings.

DHS commissioners

DHS deputy commissioners who quit last week are staying after all

It comes less than a day after the DHS Chief of Staff resigned.