It turns out Craigan L. Gray, the MD and JD (lawyer) and newly appointed Director of Medicaid is pretty thin skinned.
When Tim Rogers – head of the Association for Home and Hospice Care – asked Secretary Lanier Cansler to reconsider Gray’s cuts in a tiny Medicaid program that provides nurses to care for 350 patients who have MS, Cerebral Palsy and other crippling diseases Gray erupted and fired off an email to Rogers reprimanding him, saying he found it just plain difficult for him to hold ‘constructive conversations’ with Rogers because of ‘constant background chatter and threats of lawsuits.’
What Gray means by ‘background chatter’ is he doesn’t like Rogers publically criticizing his policies.
But Rogers has a point – Gray’s cuts are going to make life harder for a lot of sick and frail people. And Rogers had a point last summer when he threatened to sue Gray’s Department because it failed to respond to his freedom of information act requests.
What happened back then is instructive: Rogers asked for information about a state report (which later turned out to be inaccurate) Gray had given State Senator Doug Berger. In response, one of Dr. Gray’s top aides said her emails had somehow ‘migrated’ out of her computer, so she couldn’t provide them. The emails have never been seen again.
Later, when State Senator Doug Berger tried to cut Medicaid home care (a program that actually saves taxpayers money by keeping patients out of Nursing Homes) 60% based on Gray’s inaccurate report, Rogers spoke up and said, Wait a minute. Those statistics are inaccurate and the Department ought to set the record straight.
And, in fact, it later came out that Secretary Lanier Cansler had actually warned Berger about the problems with the report.
But, in the end, none of that mattered. Gray wrote his buddy Berger and said he and Berger had both been ‘slurred’ by Rogers and Berger went ahead and made the cuts.
Follow the logic: Director Gray gives Berger an inaccurate report. Tim Rogers proves the report is inaccurate. Then Gray says Rogers has ‘slurred him.’ And Berger cuts 15,000 patients’ home care.
And here’s what’s even more incredible: Right now, today, Gray is using the same inaccurate report to cut care again. As I said, DHHS has to be the looniest Department in State Government.