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3 golden objects Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Legislative Auditor

Legislative Audit Commission


April 12, 2007

Members Present:

Representative Michael Beard Senator Don Betzold
Representative Sondra Erickson Senator David Hann
Representative Rick Hansen Senator James Metzen
Representative Aaron Peterson Senator Thomas Neuville
Representative Connie Ruth
Representative Steve Simon

Members Absent:

Senator Ann Rest
Senator Claire Robling

The Legislative Audit Commission meeting was called to order by Representative Rick Hansen, Chair, at 2:00 p.m.  The primary purpose of the meeting was to release and review the follow-up program evaluation, MinnesotaCare Eligibility Determination.

James Nobles, Legislative Auditor, explained MinnesotaCare and its purpose.  Mr. Nobles introduced Deborah Parker Junod, the project manager of the follow-up review.  Ms. Junod explained the OLA findings from their 2003 report.  Those findings included income determination errors, DHS’s income estimates not matching actual income, misreported insurance information, and oversight weaknesses at DHS.  Since then, DHS has tried to improve accuracy, but problems persist and HealthMatch has been significantly delayed.  DHS has made several improvements to accuracy, but are not renewing eligibility every six months and continue to find high error rates.  The follow-up review found that the core problems remain the same:  increasing complexity and constant changes; high turnover among eligibility workers; and manual processes.  HealthMatch will help with these issues, but it is still unknown when HealthMatch will be fully implemented.  Ms. Junod concluded her presentation with two recommendations:  1) focus on finishing the design and 2) consider interim options for MinnesotaCare.

Brian Osberg, Assistant Commissioner of Health Care, Department of Human Services, responded to OLA’s evaluation of MinnesotaCare.  He explained that the department is committed to HealthMatch, but recognizes that there are aspects that still require some work.  Though they may have underestimated the scope of this project—considering there are 16,000 eligibility rules—they still believe this project is worthwhile.  DHS is in the process of hiring an independent verification reviewer to ensure that DHS and the vendor stay on track.  Mr. Osberg explained that DHS is trying to balance the ease of enrollment with fiscal integrity.  They have commissioned a company, Policy Studies, Inc., to help DHS administer an eligibility and enrollment process redesign.  He mentioned that DHS needs to work with the counties on this redesign.  Mr. Osberg said that improving eligibility determination has been, and will continue to be, a high priority.  He also reassured the commission that when the software for HealthMatch is completed, DHS will own and manage the system.

With no further business, Representative Hansen adjourned the meeting at 3:00 p.m.


Representative Rick Hansen, Chair

Shelly Watterud, Recording Secretary