Crouch calls for FSSA audit following $1B shortfall, Medicaid changes

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Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch on Tuesday called for an independent, outside audit of the Family and Social Services Administration following a $1 billion Medicaid overspend that triggered a review of agency programs.

After announcing the shortfall, the FSSA identified $300 million in program cuts, one of the largest being an attendant care program for parents of medically complex children.

“It’s extremely important that the $1 billion error that FSSA made is not put on the back of these children and families,” Crouch said at a press conference. “We need to ensure moving forward that they get the care that they need and deserve … being able to take care of these children is absolutely a critical need for the state of Indiana.”

Crouch is running for governor on the promise to “axe” the state’s income tax, a proposal that could involve cuts to programs like Medicaid. She didn’t answer a question Tuesday about how she reconciled her platform to restore Medicaid spending with those tax cuts.

Her announcement comes on the heels of her call last week for FSSA to pause the proposed changes, which both the General Assembly and Gov. Eric Holcomb rebuffed. She sidestepped a question about her communication with the executive branch, instead asking why they killed FSSA’s agency bill.

The press conference featured South Bend mother Melanie Kandzierski and her 3-year-old daughter Rosie, who has Dravet Syndrome, a rare seizure disorder. She said attendant care for Legally Responsible Individuals allows Kandzierski and her fiancé to care for her daughter 24/7 during a statewide nursing shortage.

“Quite often, I can administer rescue medications quicker than the medical team at the hospital,” Kandzierski said. “Providing round-the-clock care for Rosie is a responsibility that we wholeheartedly and willingly embrace … without support, we cannot provide the care required to ensure these children have the highest quality of life.”

For the agency evaluating service cuts, she had stronger words.

“It’s also time to remind the FSSA that medically complex children are not scapegoats for their budgetary incompetencies,” Kandzierski said.

The agency’s suggested pivot to Structured Family Caregiving, she said, wouldn’t suffice when it came to covering all of the care Rosie needed.

FSSA defended the cuts last week, noting that the program grew from $20 million in summer 2020 to $120 million in December 2023 following increased uptake and rate increases.

“We want to create a sustainable path for parents and spouses to support the waiver member and, going forward, our plan is that will be via structured family caregiving and not via attendant care,” said Kelly Mitchell, FSSA’s director for the division of disability and rehabilitative services.

The Indiana Capital Chronicle is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that covers state government, policy and elections.

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6 thoughts on “Crouch calls for FSSA audit following $1B shortfall, Medicaid changes

  1. Like their debacle in the foster system, it is yet another example of poor leadership and understanding by Indiana FSSA. Their desire to maintain the Medicaid allowances for the State of Indiana as a piggy bank for other budgetary items in the general fund is now on display firsthand. I hope that not just the audit occurs but a complete overhaul of leadership, personnel, and direction.

  2. If only the born counted as much with Republicans as the unborn.

    But once again, we see concrete evidence Republicans are only want the easy stuff amd cheap headlines…the actual job of governing and caring for children is not on their agenda. actual living children are not as important as tax cuts and funding private religious education.

  3. Nice. Typical to make others pay for their mistakes. Agreed, when will the living have the attention of the “Super Stupid” majority as the unborn do. We care about you until birth, then you are soon forgotten.

  4. Holcomb is in Texas supporting Texas’ efforts to defy the US Constitution and generate headlines as migrants drown at the border. He has given up; this is all the next person’s problem. Unfortunately, that person may be Mike Braun, who is as ill-suited for the role of governor as he was for the role of senator. Gee, or may be Eric Doden. Not since Mike Pence ran has there been a WCN with a dog whistle who came close to either of these two…and the WCNs of Indiana will gladly have either as the governor.

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