Tuesday, December 03, 2013

What's the Whole Story Behind Louisiana's Medicaid Expansion for the Dead?

I've read the legislative auditor's report and various articles on Louisiana compensating private industry insurers for Medicaid services rendered to dead people; and the more I read, the more unanswered questions I have.

In this article, Kathy Kleibert blamed it on Social Security records.

Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Kathy Kliebert said Monday that the problem occurred because DHH was relying on “a very sloppy database in Social Security” to determine who should be enrolled in the managed care plans. Most of the cases involved older adults with disabilities qualifying for Medicaid through the Social Security system, she said.

“In the future we are going to be using our vital records database,” she said, referring to the state’s registry of birth and death records.

This Town Talk article implies the state relied on data from the DHH vital statistics office.  http://www.thetowntalk.com/viewart/20131104/NEWS01/131104017/Audit-Louisiana-DHH-paid-1-9M-Medicaid-dead-people

The legislative auditor definitely used DHH Vital Stats data to conduct the audit, but why would he use that method if the state uses/used Social Security info? http://app1.lla.la.gov/PublicReports.nsf/5BBFA4B0591132DB86257C14004DD0C4/$FILE/00035F69.pdf

Also, wouldn't Kleibert's response suggest that all of those people kept receiving federal and/or state SSI payments after they died?

I understand using a different methodology to audit payment errors.  That makes sense, but why wouldn't the state legislative auditor also use the same methodology as a means for comparison to lend more validity to his findings?

Or did the auditor intentionally employ a methodology that provides a safety escape hatch for DHH?