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Audit of Medicaid providers stays under wraps

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The issue of public access to legislative emails isn’t the only public records issue on which the Governor’s Office and attorney general are taking the same position.

Both have refused to let the public or lawmakers get a look at a Human Services Department audit of 15 Medicaid providers that led to Arizona management companies taking over some nonprofit providers and supervising others.

The Journal filed Inspection of Public Records Act requests with both HSD and the Attorney General’s Office and received the same response from both agencies: No.

Although the HSD released an audit summary to legislators and news reporters, it has cited the law enforcement exception to IPRA in denying the Journal’s request. The Attorney General’s Office has released some procedural parts of the audit and heavily redacted others, but the office otherwise has denied the Journal’s request, citing the same law enforcement exception to the act.

The AG’s Office asked Martinez’ administration not to make the HSD audit public, and not even the nonprofit agencies whose practices were scrutinized have seen the allegations against them.

The public records act allows agencies to withhold records produced or received in the course of criminal investigations if releasing them would jeopardize an investigation.

Legislators have been critical of the lack of information provided to the nonprofit providers and to the public.

HSD Secretary Sidonie Squier said when the summary of the audit was released that the audit found $36 million in Medicaid overbilling and that fraud may have occurred.

Twelve agencies providing services to the mentally ill and substance abusers have had, or will have, their management replaced. Two are being temporarily supervised by Arizona agencies, and one small agency is getting onsite technical assistance from an Arizona provider.

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