I was glad to see our local city council person Carl Stokes on the TV news telling the citizens of Baltimore that we do indeed have a problem with fraud in the city, saying there hasn't been oversight for decades. Mr. Stokes heads the budget and tax committee we are asking for accountability. The article below on healthcare fraud shows the same at the state level. There hasn't been oversight for decades. This health insurance agency worked unfettered until this State Legislative Oversight Committee finally conducted an audit. Making public demands for accountability will turn this around. With this article it is important to understand that this audit was the exception, not the rule and as private health systems gain more control over these issues I see no accountability. THE MARYLAND DAILY RECORD.....AND I, ASK FOR DOCUMENTS REGARDING JOHNS HOPKINS DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION AND WE ARE TOLD.....'WE ARE A VERY PRIVATE INSTITUTION'. THIS IS THE LEADER OF MARYLAND'S HEALTH SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT.
Frazer Smith on Baltimore's WYPR made a political comment regarding the tendency of the State's leadership to circumvent normal legislative channels to move their agenda forward. Just recently we have seen:
A move to skirt judicial review of State Center project planning by passing special laws.
A move to get Marriage Equality (which I support) out of committee by joining 2 committees to get the necessary votes.....I've never heard of this.
A move to get environmental legislation that looks like the governors's plan not the plan passed by the legislature (this being what Fraser was addressing) BY USING THIS REGULATION BUT NOT THAT REGULATION.
A move to ignore a state constitutional requirement for a constitutional convention every 20 years that received a majority vote on public referendum (oh, we need a supermajority to do that now).
I contend that the laws regarding state and local money distribution and these charter schools as public education are all unconstitutional at state and federal levels.
This is not unique to Maryland. Obama is doing it on the national level as Bush before him. What were once mechanisms used with rarity are being used as norm and the result is a distortion of Constitution and Rule of Law and even our three branch government of checks and balances. All scholars and analysts agree that too much power is moving to the executive office, both state and national. What this gives us is the adage: 'complete power corrupts completely'. HERE LIES THE PROBLEM AND THE SOLUTION! WE CAN MAKE THE CHANGE------VOTE THEM OUT OF OFFICE AS WELL AS THE FARM TEAM WAITING FOR THEIR TURN!
Audit: Maryland health agency paid vendor $367k without oversight
May 03, 2012 -- 7:56 PM Thu, 2012-05-03 19:56
A Maryland health insurance agency failed to audit hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to one of its vendors, resulting in a dispute with the company over excess payments made by the state, according to a recent report.
The state Office of Legislative Audits' review of the Maryland Health Insurance Plan -- a branch of the state's medical services that provides health benefits to uninsured Marylanders and helps cover out-of-pocket costs for seniors' prescription drugs -- found approximately $367,000 in payments lacking oversight.
Because of a change at the agency, which became an independent government entity in 2008, the vendor was paid the amount without a written contract of the agreed-upon work, according to the audit.
The lack of a contract led to a dispute over the vendor's work. The insurance agency, which had previously held several specific contracts with the vendor, took issue when the vendor increased its number of billable hours and performed "unsatisfactory" work.
At the time of the audit, the agency was working on a settlement over roughly $140,000 in dispute with the vendor, whose contract has since been terminated.
In another instance, medical claims totaling $179.5 million made by another vendor, an administrative services company, went unchecked.
And the same vendor's practices went unaudited by the insurance agency for more than three years, from January 2008 to June 2011. Auditing vendors is a standard method for ensuring a company is properly completing the work it is contracted to do, according to the state audit.
In a letter from the Maryland Health Insurance Plan, the agency said it concurred with the audit's findings and was working to correct all issues. A settlement was reached with the vendor regarding the thousands of dollars in dispute, wrote Kent McKinney, executive director of the insurance agency, though the letter did not note under what terms.
Calls to the Maryland Health Insurance Plan were not returned.
The insurance agency likely will be phased out as a part of the state's plan to implement President Obama's sweeping health care overhaul, auditors said. The creation of a health benefit exchange by Jan. 1, 2014, which would market and sell health care plans to uninsured Marylanders and small businesses that don't offer or provide their employees insurance, will make the agency unnecessary.