First, it was a letter to the Governor from the Colorado Behavioral Health Council questioning the “transparency, communication, and responsiveness” of Health and Human Services Executive Director Reggie Bicha. Less than a week after that, a letter of no confidence signed by an astonishing 84 members of the Colorado legislature landed on the governor’s desk. Now, it has been disclosed that negligent actions by Bicha’s office have exposed state taxpayers to a possible $3.9 million in liabilities. It’s safe to say that Bicha is probably in a dark place, but Hick’s standing by his man.
This error stems from Bicha’s agency not understanding the federal reimbursement rules governing some purchases made for the state’s food assistance program that Department of Health and Human Services oversees. Currently, the USDA is demanding approximately $1 million for “unauthorized expenses,” basically disallowing certain costs of a software program that was purchased with federal funds without authorization. The feds could come back for a total of $3.9 million if certain steps are not taken to fix controls within the program.
“We’re shaking the sheets on this to see why and how it happened,” said Bicha on Wednesday of this week, ensuring that he “has his best people looking at it.”
Unfortunately, this situation was known to DHS back in March, when the agency received a letter from the USDA about the problems.
State Senator Kent Lambert expressed dismay that he did not know about this situation until after the legislative session ended, indicating that the legislature may have been in a position to do something while it was assembled.
Now, it is just another tire on the fire that is the state Department of Human Services. We wonder if Governor Hickenlooper will come to Bicha’s aid again.