The state Human Services Department finally made available its one-page response to a draft audit report that accused Christus St Vincent Regional Medical Center of wrongly obtaining $23.7 million in Medicaid funding.
The audit report, released in April by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), alleged that CSVRMC would need to return $23.7 million in Medicaid funding because of the way the state match for the money was put up. Instead of Santa Fe County putting up money for FY09 that the federal government matched, CSVRMC "donated" money to the county, which was then used as its portion of the state match. This is not allowed, and a separate whistleblower suit that names another New Mexico hospital (and does not name CSVRMC) alleges that this type of funding arrangement constitutes fraud.
The audit report's cover letter from CMS demands a response from HSD by May 11. HSD got an extension until June 6, then another extension until today. The response to the audit's allegations consists of the following:
"[HSD] takes very seriously the proposed findings contained in the draft [Financial Management Report]. In the draft, CMS cites numerous source documents that were reviewed and which form the basis of the proposed findings. Given the serious nature of the findings, we respectfully ask for the opportunity to review the source documents before responding."
Yep, that's it. Anyone curious to see how HSD and CSVRMC are going to explain their way out of this better settle in for a long haul.