State HHS commissioner says federal claims about data are wrong
CONCORD —The commissioner of state Health and Human Services Department has reacted angrily to allegations from the federal agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid that the department is not providing data on residents’ access to services.
In a letter to commissioner Nicholas Toumpas, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services asserted that the New Hampshire department has not furnished data to refute charges that access has been greatly diminished.
“The state has provided some information but that information is generally dependent on older data or reports that were not developed to address the specific issues raised since 2010,” the letter said.
Toumpas responded in a letter on Monday: “To the dismay of this administration, your letter characterizes the conduct of this department in an inaccurate manner and acknowledges neither the prompt, responsive actions taken by the department nor most of the documents submitted to you over the past three months.”
Toumpas noted that CMS’ assertion is based on testimony in the legal action brought by Dartmouth-Hitchcock and several other hospitals over the state’s $130 million reduction in Medicaid payments. The hospitals said the action was taken with no analysis of the impacts to the poor and needy served by the program.
Toumpas insists that his department submitted data to CMS showing that the access problems cited by the hospitals were “greatly overstated.”
He pointed to Lakes Region General Hospital’s claim that 3,000 patients were affected by the cuts. The actual number of people directly affected was 400, and they could be accommodated at other sites, according to Toumpas.
Toumpas said his department will continue to compile data.
The dispute comes as the state prepares to shift its Medicaid program over to managed care, a change that Toumpas has said will enhance its ability to deliver services efficiently.
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