• Mary Jo Wentz

    This information should have been made available before the recall election. Surprise!

  • Barbara Smith

    Beth Kaplan’s characterization of DHS regarding its use of contractors leaves out some important information.

    In August 2011, the USDA indicated that DHS was out of compliance with federal law and USDA was prepared to withhold millions of dollars of FoodStamp funding from DHS if DHS did not downsize its use of private contractors for this program by 40% by Dec. 1, 2012 (DHS had proposed only a 20% reduction).

    Here is an article about this:
    http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-politics/capitol-report/under-threat-of-losing-millions-state-decides-against-using-private/article_fa313361-8c2a-58bb-9e72-27f7dbf3549d.html

    In December 2011, the WI Legislative Audit Bureau published a report on the DHS Medical Assistance Program. This report found 1100 contractors working on the program in June 2011 (FTE equivalents).
    http://legis.wisconsin.gov/lab/reports/11-15full.pdf

    The report includes some disturbing information about irregular use of contractors in the program, and found that DHS expanded contracts very considerably without rebidding them. The LAB report specifically mentioned that they were concerned the state was not getting the work done in the most cost efficient way.

    Here’s a quote:
    “Neither the State’s accounting system nor the internal accounting
    system used by DHS contain sufficient information to apportion all
    Medical Assistance expenditures by subprogram. Specifically,
    neither accounting system could identify on which subprograms
    $2.0 billion in Medical Assistance funds, including over $1.4 billion
    in federal funds and $551 million in GPR, was spent in FY 2009-10.
    As noted, we had to rely on expenditure estimates from
    HP Enterprise Services and other sources to allocate estimated costs
    among the various Medical Assistance subprograms.”

    DHS continues to hire more contractors. In June 2012, a job advertisement for a contractor position at DHS related to Medicaid was listed on Craig’s list. (It has now been removed).

    Here is one blogger’s view of the situation:
    http://bdgrdemocracy.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/audit-shows-cost-misappropriation-lack-of-oversight-in-walker-dhs-privatization-push/

    We should ask whether DHS’ policy decision to make such heavy use of contractors, and wasteful private contracts, is in effect taking money away from programs for poor people.