Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee says a new report indicates waste and fraud in Rhode Island's Medicaid and food stamp system but he doesn't plan to release the details.
Chafee said on Monday that releasing the details could jeopardize an investigation into the matter and that currently officials are working to correct the issues.
"A great deal of misconception has been generated over the past several days regarding the preliminary findings of the work done by Ken Block. This work was commissioned by my administration for internal use to find any instances of waste, fraud, abuse, or process failure that could be remedied to save taxpayer dollars. These findings are now being reviewed and are currently being turned over to various appropriate agencies for investigation and process corrections to save taxpayer dollars," said Chafee in a statement.
Former Gubernatorial Candidate and chairman of the Moderate Party Ken Block compiled the report for the state on a pro-bono basis.
"I remain committed to transparency and if, at the appropriate time, a determination is made that publicly releasing the information will not jeopardize our ability to root out fraud and abuse, I will certainly do so. The work with Ken Block, the Office of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Human Services is continuing. Additionally, my FY2013 budget contained funding for an integrity unit within OHHS. Those positions are now being filled and recently an RFP has been issued to contract with a vendor to add an additional layer of waste and fraud prevention to the current system," said Chafee.
Some Republicans and good government groups are demanding the results be released stating that the information is a matter of public record.
The Rhode Island ACLU and Common Cause Rhode Island said they find the Governor's decision to withhold the reports, "deeply troubling."
"We cannot conceive of any rationale under our state's Access to Public Records Act for withholding this document from public view," said the two groups leaders John Marion and Steven Brown in a joint statement. "The only explanation we have publicly heard is that the Governor does not want to jeopardize potential criminal investigations. But a document that is otherwise public cannot be withheld based on future investigations. In fact, the open records law itself explicitly addresses this issue by providing that "all records initially deemed to be public records … shall continue to be so deemed whether or not subsequent court action or investigations are held pertaining to the matters contained in the records."