DHS wants lawmaker’s invoices

Posted Aug. 22, 2003, at 12 a.m.
Last modified Nov. 22, 2010, at 1:02 p.m.

OAKLAND – Acting Department of Human Services Commissioner Peter Walsh is demanding that Rep. Robert Nutting turn over all invoices related to the state’s investigation of Nutting’s pharmacy.

The Oakland Republican missed Thursday’s deadline for turning over the invoices, which detail how much True’s Pharmacy billed the state and federal governments for products and services under Medicaid over a five-year period.

Nutting, who participated in Thursday’s special legislative session in Augusta, scheduled a news conference for Friday morning.

“I will announce one of two things. One, that we reached an agreement, or two, that I will close in 30 days,” Nutting told the Morning Sentinel.

The DHS first claimed Nutting owed the state $3.6 million but later reduced that figure to about $867,000.

Nutting has proposed paying back the $563,000 federal portion of what is owed, minus what he has already paid, which would bring the total amount owed to $320,158.

About 50 of Nutting’s supporters held a rally Thursday afternoon at the State House to show their support for the legislator.

In a letter this week to Nutting’s lawyer, Walsh said True’s must provide proof of the pharmacy’s purchase of specific items for which it was reimbursed under Maine Care, the state’s version of Medicaid.

The letter also was sent to Christopher Mann, an assistant attorney general representing DHS on the civil end of the case against True’s. A criminal investigation by the attorney general’s office also is under way, said attorney Jay McCloskey, who represents Nutting.

Nutting has told investigators that the pharmacy has 85 percent of its acquisition cost invoices for incontinence supplies, invoices that will show the pharmacy did not overcharge the program. The DHS wants to see those invoices for review and comment, according to Walsh’s letter.

“These documents must be delivered to the department no later than Aug. 21 at 1 p.m.,” Walsh wrote.

Nutting said there was no way he could bring thousands of printed pages to Walsh. Besides, the 56-year-old pharmacist said, he needs the original documents to defend himself if criminal charges are brought.

Nutting contends that the state did not do its math correctly in calculating the money owed, and that as many as 75 percent of pharmacies in Maine are interpreting the billing rules the same way True’s did.

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