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Keep the heat on

 Letters to the Portland Editor, September 5, 2008
By LETTERS TO THE PORTLAND EDITOR  |  September 3, 2008

Great article (see "State of Deception," by Lance Tapley, August 29)! Thank you for getting this out in the open.

I’m sure you’re also aware that every year, the state withholds their regular weekly MaineCare reimbursements to agencies and providers in order to make the state’s fiscal year-end results look better.

This puts a tremendous burden on those who have dedicated their lives to helping those less fortunate. It is especially hard on those agencies with very limited resources and which are getting by on a shoestring. They are forced to scramble and “stress” just to make payroll until the state reinstitutes its weekly payments, often weeks later.

Even after the start of the new fiscal year, the state continues to play with the agencies’ money, arbitrarily withholding payments in any given week for whatever reasons they choose — and without any announcement to those expecting the money.

Agencies then spend enormous amounts of time trying to figure out why they aren’t getting paid, and/or how they’re going to stay afloat until the state deigns to pay for services already provided.

We would all be much better served if the community-service agencies could spend their limited resources helping those they serve rather than spinning wheels trying to get the state to pay them.

But the state continually makes things so difficult that it’s a lose-lose for all involved, especially for the mentally ill, mentally retarded, disadvantaged kids, and others whom these agencies serve.

Besides delaying payments, the state imposes so much overly complex, onerous paperwork, and reporting that it’s a miracle the whole thing doesn’t implode from its own weight! And of course, there’s a high cost to us taxpayers to pay for all this bureaucracy.

Again, thanks for getting the problem out in the open, and please keep the heat on. All the folks who depend on others’ help deserve nothing less than an all-out attack on these shenanigans.

Steve Mortimer
Poland

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