AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The Maine Department of Health and Human Services said a report criticizing its care of people with autism and intellectual disabilities does not offer a full picture.
The OIG audit by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services was made public early Thursday morning. Medical records and critical incident reports from the 30-month period reviewed by HHS indicate Maine did not comply with requirements for reporting and monitoring critical incidents such as deaths, injuries and abuse.
Former DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew told NEWS CENTER she fought for and prioritized $100 million extra for disabled adults while she was commissioner.
"I cleaned up significant problems within the Department and prioritized services for our most vulnerable. This audit, consistent with similar audits in MA and CT, is a reflection of prior Administrations and years of explosive entitlement growth prioritizing able-bodied adults at the expense of our most vulnerable. Today the Department is prioritizing our most vulnerable, there is financial discipline and stability and a commitment to accountability and quality results." — Mary Mayhew.
A statement from Maine DHHS said the department was in the midst of a major transitional period when the information was gathered between January 2013 and June 2015. Within the larger framework of DHHS, the Office of Elder Services and the Office of Cognitive and Physical Disability Services were merged into the Office of Aging and Disability.
The DHHS statement said, "The Department recognizes that issues identified by OIG did exist during this transitional phase, many of which were discovered prior to the time of this audit and have been addressed by the Department."
DHHS also argued that the report failed to acknowledge the full scope and complexity of care, dwelling only on certain isolated aspects. "Because the OIG narrowly focused on a subset of data," DHHS said, "the conclusions drawn in the report are, in many ways, incomplete."
Continue below to read Maine DHHS's full response to the OIG audit: