Update: Judge Upholds Del. Auditor’s Subpoena of Medicaid Information from DHSS

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Update:

Delaware State Auditor Kathy McGuiness released a statement Thursday regarding a judge’s decision to uphold her subpoena for Medicaid information from DHSS:

Judge Karsnitz released his decision in our court case with the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) regarding our requests to audit Medicaid spending. My office fought for nearly two years for access to information needed to conduct a performance audit set within the professional standards and guidelines of the U.S. Government Accountability Office. This audit sought to determine if DHSS’ Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance (DMMA) complies with federal and state requirements, implements effective internal controls, and incorporates data integrity throughout the program.

Medicaid spending accounts for nearly 1/5 of the state’s annual budget, and Delawareans deserve to know if Medicaid is complying with state and federal requirements when spending these critical funds.

The Auditor’s Office regularly receives confidential data as part of our duties under Delaware Code, and the prior administration conducted a nearly identical performance audit of Medicaid eligibility in 2014. However, despite a history of conducting this work, my staff and I received significant pushback and delays that undermine the independent audit process in our state.

This performance audit was hindered by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and their insistence this audit was not within the Auditor’s scope of authority. My staff was forced to learn to draft a subpoena because the assigned attorney from the Department of Justice declined to provide my office legal representation on this matter. The DOJ initially refused to grant my office outside legal counsel forcing us to represent the office pro se.

I would like to thank Judge Karsnitz for his objective ruling confirming the scope of authority of the Auditor’s Office. I commend Governor John Carney for his judgement in granting the office independent outside legal counsel. I applaud the efforts of Luke Mette of Armstrong Teasdale LLP and his team for their outstanding legal expertise and presentation of the facts.

There’s been a lot of confusion about what this office does or should be doing, but this decision makes it clear; taxpayers deserve to know if they’re getting a fair deal from their state government, and Delawareans should know they have fighters on their side in the State Auditor’s Office working on their behalf for accountability no matter the resistance.

Delaware State Auditor Kathy McGuiness gets a win in court in her effort to subpoena Medicaid related information from Delaware Health and Social Services.

McGuiness has been seeking information for performance audits, but the Department questioned her authority.

Judge Craig Karsnitz of Superior Court rejected the State’s motion to dismiss the subpoena in an opinion released Wednesday.

Last September, McGuiness said:

“What I am seeking is access to information that ultimately results in how state tax dollars are spent on Medicaid. Delaware Code clearly gives me the authority to do this, yet DHSS officials have refused to provide my team with full access.”

Delaware State Auditor Kathy McGuiness gets a win in court in her effort to subpoena Medicaid related information from Delaware Health and Social Services.

McGuiness has been seeking information for performance audits, but the Department questioned her authority.

Judge Craig Karsnitz of Superior Court rejected the State’s motion to dismiss the subpoena in an opinion released Wednesday.

Last September, McGuiness said:

“What I am seeking is access to information that ultimately results in how state tax dollars are spent on Medicaid. Delaware Code clearly gives me the authority to do this, yet DHSS officials have refused to provide my team with full access.”

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