Federal HHS probing Minn. Medicaid program

Another federal agency is looking into whether the state of Minnesota improperly set rates for its Medicaid program.

The Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services has sent a letter to state officials Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson seeking information about the state's Medicaid program under the former Gov. Tim Pawlenty's administration.

The letter asks for documents and records to determine how Minnesota set its payment rates for HMOs that administered the Medicaid program from Jan 1, 2008 to Dec. 31, 2009. Pawlenty said in June that he had "no indication or reason to believe that anything was done incorrectly or overpaid."

Medicaid is a shared federal/state safety net program that provides health care coverage for low-income, the vulnerable and children. Minnesota's program has been under national scrutiny after the HMO, UCare, voluntarily paid $30 million to the state in 2011.

In addition to the Office of Inspector General, the Department of Justice also is investigating the state's Medicaid program.