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Disputed audit of Medicaid in Arkansas delayed

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 1, 2013 at 5:21 pm •  Published: February 1, 2013

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Legislative auditors on Friday delayed the release of a review of Arkansas' Medicaid program, two days after state Human Services officials said they believed the report was using questionable methods to negatively paint the program.

Department of Human Services officials complained that the audit was being released prematurely and claimed it used "sensational but rare examples and questionable methodologies" to portray the program in the worst light. DHS spokeswoman Amy Webb said the department was having "productive" discussions about the report with legislative auditors.

"We don't have a problem with the report coming out," Webb said. "We just want to make sure it's accurate and fairly represents the Arkansas Medicaid program."

The report had been scheduled to be released Friday. Instead, leaders of the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee announced that auditors were still discussing the report with DHS officials.

"The division believes the department's responses deserve careful review and evaluation," Sen. Bryan King and Rep. Kim Hammer, who chair the committee, said in a statement.

The report is being finalized as Arkansas lawmakers weigh whether to expand Arkansas' Medicaid eligibility under the federal health care law. Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe supports the expansion but has faced resistance from the Republican-controlled House and Senate.

GOP lawmakers have said they want to cut down on what they call fraud and waste in the program, which serves more than 776,000 people in the state. King and Hammer are both Republicans.

Beebe has said he wants the Department to address any problems raised by the audit.

"We'll wait to see what results are released and we will work with DHS to address any concerns raised by the auditors," Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said.


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