Statement From Auditor McGuiness On Judge’s Ruling

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

State Auditor McGuiness Releases Special Report Analyzing Overdose Data Dashboard

DOVER, Del. – State Auditor Kathy McGuiness announced today the release of a special report titled “Falling Short During the Opioid Crisis? Delaware’s Overdose Dashboard”. This special report reviewed Delaware’s current drug overdose deaths data dashboard to determine if enhancements are needed that would positively affect the end user experience and better inform the response to substance abuse issues in the state.

“The opioid crisis has taken a major toll on the lives of families across our state with Delaware ranked 3rd in the nation for drug overdose mortality in 2020,” Auditor McGuiness said. “Communication is key to increased preparedness and awareness for communities to counter the complex challenges of drug addiction. Concerned residents must have data at their fingertips and that data must be relevant for the prevention and treatment assistance so desperately needed by local Delaware communities.”

Under Delaware Code 2909, the State Auditor may produce special reports that examine state agencies’ performance and offer recommendations for greater accuracy and efficiency, as well as data, information, and recommendations the State Auditor deems advisable and necessary.

The opioid crisis is a major concern in the United States and Delaware’s state agencies have prioritized efforts to attack the issue at its roots as well as combat the aftermath of illicit opioids, yet the mortality rate in Delaware remains among the highest in the country. Designing a data dashboard that meets the needs of those using the information requires an understanding of the user’s perspective and proper coverage of the scope of the problem Delaware faces in combating drug overdose deaths.

“Publishing statistics in a timely and comprehensive manner conveys to the public that the issue is real, dangerous, and that the State is committed to action. Drug overdose mortality is one statistic where the First State must not become first” McGuiness said.

The new special report, “Falling Short During the Opioid Crisis? Delaware’s Overdose Dashboard” can be found here.

Learn about the Delaware Auditor’s Office at


Contact: Tori Parker, Deputy Auditor

McGuiness Office Granted Permission to Obtain Outside Counsel in Subpoena Case

Feb. 10, 2022


McGuiness Office Granted Permission to Obtain Outside Counsel in Subpoena Case with DHSS over Requested Medicaid Records
Gov. Carney acknowledges DOJ’s conflict of interest in the case

DOVER, Del. – State Auditor Kathy McGuiness said today the State Auditor’s Office was granted permission by Gov. John Carney to hire outside counsel in its ongoing subpoena case with the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) over access to Medicaid eligibility records for an audit.

Kathy McGuiness State Auditor“Thank you to Governor Carney for understanding that having the Department of Justice represent both my office and DHSS in this case was an inherent conflict of interest,” McGuiness said. “Since August, I have had to represent myself and my office in New Castle County Superior Court because the DOJ refused to recognize the subpoena power granted to me in Delaware Code.”

McGuiness and her audit staff have been trying since May to obtain the necessary documents to complete a performance audit of DHSS’ Medicaid eligibility programs for three years. When DHSS refused to comply with the data requests, McGuiness exercised the subpoena power granted to her under Delaware Code Title 29 Chapter 29 Section 2910 to attempt to obtain the records and access her team needs.

McGuiness highlighted the need for outside counsel earlier in the week during the office’s fiscal year 2023 budget hearing before the Joint Finance Committee.

“Delaware Code says specifically that the Auditor ‘shall conduct postaudits of all the financial transactions of all state agencies,’” McGuiness said. “Medicaid spends about $2 billion per year in federal and state tax money – and we want to ensure that DHSS is adequately determining who is eligible to receive those benefits.”

McGuiness pointed out that the annual statewide Single Audit has had repeat findings related to Medicaid eligibility for at least three years. The Single Audit looks at a small sample of Medicaid beneficiaries but is an accurate way to determine if larger, systemic problems could exist.

“Based on the repeated Single Audit findings, as well as other risk-assessment factors, I know that a performance audit of Medicaid eligibility will be beneficial for DHSS,”

McGuiness said. “But instead of complying with my data and access requests, DHSS has chosen to fight over this in court.”

Under Title 29 Chapter 25 Section 2507, state agencies that are represented by the DOJ can request permission to obtain outside counsel from the DOJ and the governor, which is what McGuiness did. The DOJ told McGuiness last month that it would agree with the governor’s office’s decision.

“This is a great day for Delawareans,” McGuiness said. “I fight every day for the state’s taxpayers, and this is an example of a wrong that has been righted. I am grateful to Gov. John Carney and his team for their insight and wisdom in this case.”

Alaina Sewell, Chief of Staff