Mary Mayhew responds after audit says DHHS violated state, federal laws

Former DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew (Troy R. Bennett | BDN)

AUGUSTA (WGME) – The Office of the Inspector General released an audit Thursday claiming that Maine's Department of Health and Human services violated several state and federal laws.

Disabled rights workers and activists say the violations found in the audit have been around for years.

The audit states DHHS failed to investigate the deaths of 133 people with developmental disabilities during a two-year period, and didn't immediately report some of their cases of neglect.

DHHS says they've been addressing the issues, releasing a statement.

"We are proud that we have successfully made improvements since the audit period."

The Office of the Inspector General says that it's not just Maine having these issues, they also say Connecticut and Massachusetts were found to have some of the same problems.

Former DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew also released a statement.

"There is nothing more important than the health and well being of our most vulnerable citizens. That's why I fought for and prioritized $100 million extra for our disabled adults while I was at DHHS. I cleaned up significant problems within the Department and prioritized services for our most vulnerable. This audit, consistent with similar audits in MA and CT, is a reflection of prior Administrations and years of explosive entitlement growth prioritizing able-bodied adults at the expense of our most vulnerable. Today the Department is prioritizing our most vulnerable, there is financial discipline and stability and a commitment to accountability and quality results."

Another gubernatorial candidate, Mark Eves, who is a former family therapist, says the problem goes a lot deeper than DHHS.

"When something like this happens the buck stops with the governor. These people are in his care, and you can't treat people like the they don't matter, or that they can be thrown away,” Eves said.

The auditor's report will be reviewed by the federal agency that administers the Medicare program.

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