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Alleges he was harassed, demoted for not approving illegal reimbursement to hospital

Ex-DHS employee files whistleblower suit

A former official at the Minnesota Department of Human Services filed a whistleblower lawsuit today alleging his ex-employer has conducted a retaliation campaign against him.

Paul Olson says the DHS targeted him because he refused to exempt the Fairview University Medical Center’s Amplatz Children’s Hospital from a state mandated reduction in medical assistance payments.

In a lawsuit filed in Ramsey County, he seeks damages to compensate his career losses and psychological distress. He is represented by Halunen & Associates.

“Paul Olson was just doing his job for the state of Minnesota by refusing to approve an obviously illegal financial arrangement for Fairview’s Amplatz children’s unit,” said Clayton Halunen, an attorney with the firm in a statement. “His superiors, for whatever reason, did not want to let Olson do his job. Instead, they found someone else they could bully into doing what they wanted and then demoted Olson to a demeaning position.”

The suit alleges officials at DHS, including assistant commissioner Scott Leitz, demanded Olson exempt the Amplatz hospital from a 10 percent reduction in medical assistance payments that started in 2011. Olson refused claiming it would be illegal to do so. When he refused they found another employee who would.

The suit then claims DHS officials found another employee to grant the exemption and set up retroactive payments to the hospital covering the time that Olson refused to act. In early 2013, Olson was relieved of his management position and reassigned at a reduced role and one that was not commensurate with his training.

DHS finally launched an internal audit that concluded that the exemption given to FUMC was contrary to what the state legislature mandated, and therefore illegal. By that time the hospital collected almost half a million dollars in taxpayer money.

A copy of the complaint is available here.

 

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