Legislature votes to supoena witnesses in Medicaid review | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Legislature votes to supoena witnesses in Medicaid review

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2015 at 10:37 AM

Benji Hardy reports on this morning's meeting of the legislature's Joint Performance Review Committee:

It voted unanimously to subpoena a federal Medicaid official, Jessica Kahn. Director of the Data and Systems Group (DSG) in the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services at CMS.

Rep. Kim Hammer, the chair of the committee, said the committee has planned to discuss issuing subpoenas for two contractors as well — Noridian and Northrup Grumman. Both responded and agreed to appear before the committee in October, thus making the subpoenas unnecessary.

Hammer acknowledged, though, that the subpoena to Kahn carried no real authority to compel her to appear before the committee. "Our authority ends at the state line as far as enforcing it. … But ... this will be the strongest message we can send."

The state Department of Human Services expensive and prolonged and still incomplete effort to get a reliable system in place to process Medicaid applications and income eligibility checks is the focus of committee's work. What the federal government advised DHS during this process could be a check on what state officials have said to date about the problems.

Hammer said, "we have sent numerous requests to CMS, to Jessica Kahn, asking for information. The only response we have received is the comment 'received and reviewing, thank you.' "He provided some emails that he said "show problematic issues" with the way CMS handled the process.

Hammer said it was necessary to have CMS in the room along with the vendors and DHS representatives in order to diagnose what went wrong with the design and implementation of the system. "We’ve spent upwards of $120 million, maybe $200 million, on which the state has a ten percent match, and I’d like to know why they had a problem on the front end, why they didn’t address it sooner rather than later," he said.

I asked him whether he's gone through the governor's office to request that CMS send someone to address the committee, considering the executive branch works closely with CMS. He said he's not made a request through the governor's office itself. Legislators have been left out of the loop, he said: "The previous administration left us out of the process. ... While we want to work with the administrative branch, we want to be independent as well."

Favorite

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • When Sarah Sanders joined hands with the ACLU

    Pro Publica has a good retelling of a story familiar to most Arkansans — when OBU student Sarah Huckabee linked up with the ACLU to successfully challenge a Democrat's effort to discourage college student voting in Arkadelphia.
    • Aug 15, 2018
  • Wednesday's headlines and the open line

    Medicaid, guns, Satan and racism are covered in today's news roundup. Here's your open line.
    • Aug 15, 2018
  • Hutchinson says most gun safety ideas are 'non-starters'

    Gov. Asa Hutchinson was asked today about recent reporting on the high rate of gun deaths in Arkansas and he made it clear he has little enthusiasm for most ideas on gun safety legislation.
    • Aug 15, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017
  • Latest Obamacare repeal bill would hit Arkansas treasury hard

    The latest effort to undo Obamacare, the Graham-Cassidy legislation, would shift federal support for health coverage to a block grant system to the states. Bad news for Arkansas.
    • Sep 18, 2017
  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation