State pressuring tribes for repayments

By: News Director Larissa Donovan

ST. PAUL– The embattled state Department of Human Services is pressuring two Northern Minnesota tribes to reimburse them for overpayments.

Over $25 million was overpaid by the state to the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and the White Earth Nation.

An email sent to Leech Lake Chairman Faron Jackson, obtained by the Star Tribune, states that “regardless of whether the overpayment was caused by DHS error or not, DHS is required to recover overpaid federal funds.”

The billing issue stems from medically assisted treatment programs, such as suboxone for opioid addiction, being billed as being provided in a clinic setting, when patients actually took the medication at home.

Both White Earth and Leech Lake say they alerted DHS about the issue, but DHS actually instructed them to bill Medicaid this way.

DHS is under serious legislative scrutiny as this revelation comes months after department improperly handled child care fraud and overpayments.

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