Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


Legislative Auditor: State public health bidding was legal, but some changes are needed

The preliminary report looked at the new DHS competitive bidding program that prompted lawsuits.

The Legislative Auditor’s office reports today that the Minnesota Department of Public Services appears to have followed the rules in a new competitive bidding process for public health programs. But improvements are suggested.

The changes in bidding for Medicaid and MinnesotaCare resulted in the lost of business by UCare, prompting a lawsuit that said the process was unfair.

In a letter with the report today (pdf), Legislative Auditor James Nobles, said:

We concluded that DHS followed existing legal standards for scoring competitive bids and accurately calculated the total bid scores and top rankings of the proposals that were submitted. We do not offer recommendations related to this aspect of the process. However, we think the Legislature needs to address certain other procurement policies and do so prior to the next round of competitive bidding for public health care programs.

Article continues after advertisement

He said the Legislature should clarify requirements “regarding the participation of county-based purchasing organizations in competitive bidding and counties’ authority to purchase or provide public health care.”

State DHS Commissioner Lucinda Jesson said the Legislative Auditor’s report underscores “the integrity of the bid process,” and said the department “will be partnering with counties, legislators and other key stakeholders to develop even stronger methods to increase both the quality of care delivered to our enrollees and the cost-effectiveness to taxpayers.”