SUMMARY: In response to a recently issued federal audit, Washington state’s Department of Social and Health Services will pay Medicaid back $8.4 million for improper reimbursement it claimed and received for family planning services and products. The mistakes occurred because work related to patient conditions such as lumbago, diabetes, hypertension – and for child care – was incorrectly classified as eligible for the 90 percent family planning reimbursement rate, rather than the 50 percent rate that actually applied. The federal audit suggests that similar overpayments likely also occurred before the period examined, and that DSHS should work with Medicaid to develop a best estimate of additional paybacks, even though the state says its new Medicaid Management Information System can’t examine those older claims.
Collaboration in Civic Spheres
Archive for March, 2011
by Matt Rosenberg March 31st, 2011
by Matt Rosenberg March 30th, 2011
SUMMARY: Washington state legislation providing annual bonuses for each K-12 public school teacher that becomes nationally board certified, plus another annual bonus for each year they teach in “challenging” schools is increasing the number of those teachers but not having much success in shifting them to challenging schools. This is according to an analysis published last week by the University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public Education. Costs for the program have grown to $35 million per year and are projected to rise markedly in the next two years. The legislature is wrestling with a budget proposal from Governor Chris Gregoire to cut the bonus program.
by Matt Rosenberg March 29th, 2011
SUMMARY: Contrary to mandates and guidelines meant to ensure competition in government construction contracting, the U.S. General Services Administration set aside the lead contractor’s proposed guaranteed maximum price of $59.9 million for construction phase services to redevelop the U.S.-Canada Peace Arch border crossing at Blaine, Wash. Instead the GSA approved a start to construction with no price cap and then more than a dozen piecemeal modifications based on estimates from subcontractors until finally okaying a ceiling of $91.4 million for all construction costs. An independent audit by the GSA’s Office of the Inspector General reports that the GSA’s Public Building Service, which managed the Peace Arch project contracting, improperly assumed financial risk for the project which should have been borne by the lead construction contractor (J.E. Dunn Construction of Kirkland, Wash., not named in the audit). Appropriations for the project included $26 million in U.S. Recovery Act funds. The audit directs the building service to ensure that in the future all similar contracts are bid competitively and a firm price ceiling is established at the outset.
by Matt Rosenberg March 28th, 2011
Slipping by virtually unnoticed during the recent flurry of news, analysis and events on open government, tied to the annual “Sunshine Week” earlier this month, was the “F” grade given to Washington state in a 50-state transparency Web site report card issued by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). (Click on any state for its assessment). Is the grade a fair one? Arguably not, and we’ll discuss why in a moment. Yet there’s also some legitimacy to U.S. PIRG’s hyper-focused approach of evaluating each state based on just one central spending transparency site.
by Matt Rosenberg March 23rd, 2011
SUMMARY: The White Horse Bar and Grill in Tukwila, Wash. is facing possible suspension or revocation of its two state gambling licenses. The state charges that the establishment has failed to pay more than $200,000 to the City of Tukwila in local gambling taxes, after disregarding a plan negotiated early last year to pay the debt. A hearing has been scheduled before an administrative law judge.
by Matt Rosenberg March 22nd, 2011
SUMMARY: Puyallup’s city-run library has suffered deep cuts and can’t keep up with customer service demands so the city is being urged by local library officials to examine contracting with or annexing to the larger, regional Pierce County Library System. At a study session tonight, city council members will review a range of possible new approaches to sustain the library and a recommendation to advance a cost-benefit study of joining with the county. Preliminary analysis shows the county system has lower per-capita operating costs, longer hours and a far richer collection.