'Complete lack of oversight' in Minnesota's HMO payments

Health care advocates are pushing for the federal government to audit Minnesota’s non-profit HMOs that provide coverage for the state's medical assistance and MinnesotaCare programs.

At a Capitol news conference, the Minnesota Nurses Association joined with the Greater Minnesota Health Care Coaltion to call for the audit.

They claim the state pays more than $5 billion a year to HMOs to manage the state's low-income health programs with no proof as to how the money is being spent. Health policy advocates are worried that patient safety is at risk, because they say no one is tracking the spending.

"There is a complete lack of oversight,” said Diane Peterson of Health Policy Advocates. “The state just takes the HMOs’ word for it. There is no independent examination of what's going on here, and this is has been going on for a long time." 

Peterson says they've tried to get the state to audit the HMOs, and they're now asking the federal government to step in and conduct the audit.