DOVER, Delaware – Today, Delaware State Auditor Kathleen McGuiness released the following statement in response to the Memorandum Opinion and Order from the court confirming the Auditor’s Office’s power to conduct performance audits:
Judge Karsnitz released his decision in our court case with the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) regarding our requests to audit Medicaid spending. My office fought for nearly two years for access to information needed to conduct a performance audit set within the professional standards and guidelines of the U.S. Government Accountability Office. This audit sought to determine if DHSS’ Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance (DMMA) complies with federal and state requirements, implements effective internal controls, and incorporates data integrity throughout the program.
Medicaid spending accounts for nearly 1/5 of the state’s annual budget, and Delawareans deserve to know if Medicaid is complying with state and federal requirements when spending these critical funds.
The Auditor’s Office regularly receives confidential data as part of our duties under Delaware Code, and the prior administration conducted a nearly identical performance audit of Medicaid eligibility in 2014. However, despite a history of conducting this work, my staff and I received significant pushback and delays that undermine the independent audit process in our state.
This performance audit was hindered by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and their insistence this audit was not within the Auditor’s scope of authority. My staff was forced to learn to draft a subpoena because the assigned attorney from the Department of Justice declined to provide my office legal representation on this matter. The DOJ initially refused to grant my office outside legal counsel forcing us to represent the office pro se.
I would like to thank Judge Karsnitz for his objective ruling confirming the scope of authority of the Auditor’s Office. I commend Governor John Carney for his judgement in granting the office independent outside legal counsel. I applaud the efforts of Luke Mette of Armstrong Teasdale LLP and his team for their outstanding legal expertise and presentation of the facts.
There’s been a lot of confusion about what this office does or should be doing, but this decision makes it clear; taxpayers deserve to know if they’re getting a fair deal from their state government, and Delawareans should know they have fighters on their side in the State Auditor’s Office working on their behalf for accountability no matter the resistance.
Read the Court’s Memorandum Opinion and Order here.
Contact: Tori Parker, Deputy Auditor