Springfield Republican: MassHealth paid for $9 million in unallowable and excessive drug tests
April 29, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Springfield Republican.
State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump on Tuesday announced an audit of MassHealth, which found thousands of unallowable and unnecessary drug tests that are costing the Commonwealth millions of dollars annually in Medicaid expenses.
Click here to watch news coverage from WWLP Channel 22 Springfield.
MassHealth, with expenditures of over $11 billion, provides access to healthcare services for approximately 1.3 million eligible low- and moderate-income individuals annually. MassHealth pays for drug tests as long as the tests are ordered by a physician who is actively treating the member and is being requested for a medically necessary reason. In FY 2012, MassHealth paid for more than 839,000 drug tests costing the program $18 million. The audit report found millions of dollars spent on excessive drug testing and tests that were not being used for diagnosis, treatment, or other medically necessary reasons.
“Medical testing should only be performed when there is medical necessity,” said Bump. “Clearly millions of dollars has been spent on drug tests that have done little to help addicts in recovery but much to increase revenues for testing companies.”
Springfield Republican Editorial: Massachusetts' crackdown on fraud keeps MassHealth vital
April 21, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Springfield Republican.
....Fortunately, the state’s response to the abuses has been swift.
Nearly $5.5 million in fraudulent claims for MassHealth and a wide range of other benefits were identified for 2012 by the state auditor’s office. MassHealth is now verifying income and residency of potential recipients and moving to prosecute the perpetrators of the fraud.
State Auditor Suzanne Bump, recently said: “Our investigations into public benefit fraud ensure that a social safety net is in place for those who truly need it.”
We applaud her office and the state’s attorney general’s office for their vigilance in keeping these programs vital and free of fraud.
Their hard work continues to make Massachusetts a model for how to deal with abuses that taint the successes of the state’s first-in-the-nation health care reform act.
04/29/13 - Patriot Ledger
Patriot Ledger: South Shore Collaborative says problems being fixed
April 11, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Quincy Patriot Ledger.
The executive director of the South Shore Educational Collaborative says the organization is already working to address accounting problems identified in an audit report from state Auditor Suzanne Bump.
The report, released Tuesday, says the Hingham-based collaborative was found to be using accounting practices that violated state standards, and that it had misclassified about $2 million in revenue and expenses. Executive Director Henry Perrin said the collaborative began addressing some of the issues when it received a draft of the report in January but was waiting to see the final version before implementing some changes.
“We’re going to work on these things and fix them,” he said.
Waltham News Tribune: Waltham election costs could run high
April 8, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Waltham News Tribune.
Waltham could potentially host six elections this year, which would cost the city a bundle, as the price tag for one election is about $60,000, according to the city clerk’s office.
April 30 marks the year’s first election. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the special U.S. Senate primary, needed following former Sen. John Kerry’s appointment as Secretary of State. Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch, both U.S. representatives, are running on the Democratic side. The Republican candidates are former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, businessman Gabriel Gomez and state Rep. Daniel Winslow.
The Senate general election is scheduled for June 25...
...Auditor Suzanne Bump has urged state officials to pass legislation to cover costs of what she believes would cost the state about $8.2 million, according to a letter she sent to Gov. Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo.
“My Division of Local Mandates has received numerous calls from local election officials explaining that their communities have not budgeted funds to support their expense, and cannot raise the revenue to do so,” Bump wrote.
Counting Change: Red tape vs. regulations
April 6, 2013 - The following content is from a opinion column authored by State Auditor Suzanne Bump which originally appeared in the Quincy Patriot Ledger.
If you have visited the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., you might remember learning that it was originally commissioned for the U.S. Pension Bureau. An architectural novelty, it was designed to be affordable and fireproof and to maximize light and air flow for its office workers and lend majesty to the public events held in its great hall.
Tour guides will also tell you that the modern American usage of the term “red tape” has been attributed to the bureaucracy that managed Civil War pensions behind those red brick walls.
For centuries, red tape was used to bind together important government documents. It provided a visual clue that a package of papers required immediate attention. How ironic it is that the phrase now signifies that which is petty, time-consuming, unfair, illogical, redundant or incomprehensible. That is why pledges to cut red tape are guaranteed applause lines for political aspirants.
In response to a stagnant economy, governors across the country, including Massachusetts, have recently launched initiatives aimed at regulatory relief. Its volume, complexity and changeability hinder progress in both the public and private sectors. Their goal is to reduce red tape’s stranglehold on government efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and transparency, and on economic growth.
Sentinel & Enterprise: Who's watching out for the children?
April 1, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise.
"Since we know where all the sex offenders are living, and we know where all the licensed day-care centers are, shouldn't we be able to make sure sex offenders aren't living or working at addresses that house day-care centers?"
It's a great question, and one somebody in Auditor Suzanne Bump's office asked. The auditor's subsequent investigation found 119 cases in which the work, school or residential address of a sex offender matched that of a licensed child-care facility. Scary.
In her report, Bump noted that the Department of Early Education and Care, the state body responsible for licensing child-care providers, is not required to check the Sex Offender Registry to ensure that no sex offenders' work or home addresses matches a child-care facility.
Why not? Why didn't the Department of Early Education and Care ask the same question someone in Bump's office did? Massachusetts has had the Sex Offender Registry for nearly 15 years. The goal of the registry was to provide a valuable tool not only to the public but to state and local officials to identify the whereabouts of sex offenders. It wasn't established only to help moms and dads in the Bay State sleep better at night -- or be more watchful in the event an offender was in the neighborhood.
Regular checks by EEC of the registry -- which Bump recommends in her scathing report -- should have begun Sept. 10, 1999, the day the Sex Offender Registry took effect in Massachusetts. They will be performed now, thanks to Bump's investigation.
Related News and Editorials
04/01/13 - Worcester Telegram
04/02/13 - Worcester Telegram
03/30/13 - Boston Herald
04/01/13 - Boston Herald
04/01/13 - Sentinel & Enterprise
04/06/13 - Patriot Ledger
04/07/13 - Lawrence Eagle Tribune
Patriot Ledger: State audit finds improper handling of funds for human services
April 4, 2013 - The following content was originally published in the Quincy Patriot Ledger.
A state agency that contracts with human services providers, including those on the South Shore, made a habit of improperly distributing taxpayer money to a number of them, a new state audit shows.
The report, released Wednesday by State Auditor Suzanne Bump, is based on a three-year review of 15 organizations that provide services to residents with developmental and behavioral issues. Among the groups audited were the May Institute, based in Randolph, and Vinfen, which offers dozens of programs locally.
The report says that between fiscal years 2009 and 2011 the Department of Developmental Services “lacked transparency” while doling out millions of dollars in emergency reserve money for purposes other than those intended.
“This has been a growing problem within this agency for a number of years,” Bump said.
The Department of Developmental Services sets aside some of its annual budget as an emergency fund meant for one-time use to help service providers with intermittent or unpredictable needs.