Health & Human Services Committee
Chair: Sen. Wiklund
January 31, 2023
Re: Opposing the Rehiring State Medicaid Agency (DHS) Commissioner Harpstead
Dear Madam Chair and Committee Members, my name is Idil Abdull. I am a Somali Autism Mom and a pretty tired and pissed-off advocate who is retiring this year.
First, I think more time and opportunity should’ve been given to the public to state their concerns with DHS’s leadership and its inability to do right for and by Minnesota’s minority communities.
2nd. I find it both laughable and ludicrous that anyone would say Commissioner Harpstead has done a good job for Minnesota’s vulnerable population that it is supposed to serve which are the disabled, the elderly, and the poor.
3rd. Under her leadership, more black and brown employees have been fired and retaliated against than all last three commissioners combined. More minorities have complained of racial discrimination under this administration than the last three administrations combined. (See attached data and numbers from DHS). Also, see the below link Mpls Tribune article on DHS’ toxic work environment for people of color. Some of these former minority employees have sued DHS for racial discrimination in the courts and have won including the only Somali one that was ever hired in such a high-level position.
4th. DHS has done nothing about white providers like Lovaas who took 2,862,769.00 dollars in fraudulent funds and Behavior Dimensions fraudulently billed the state $2,772, 517.00 while it shuts down black and brown providers if they God Forbid sneeze the wrong way.
5th. I hope you remember the vivid hearings from the last session about sudden closings of group homes for individuals with disabilities while DHS sat idle – no pun intended.
6th. Commissioner Harpstead has refused for years to meet with the Somali Community about the many problems concerns have with DHS. By the way, Jesson and her assistant commissioners did it multiple times.
7th. DHS’ middle management and supervisors including those that investigate and unfairly shut down providers of color sorely lack people of color including not one single Somali. Racial disparities do not fall from the sky; they are created by people in a position of power and influence who refuse to acknowledge and do something about it.
8th. There are several cases in court currently or have been brought up against DHS under Harpstead for various reasons. I hope legislators ask the commissioner about these. PFoser vs Harpstead.
Another time when DHS goes after the vulnerable that it is supposed to serve while it does nothing to privileged providers that take millions of dollars. How is right, moral, or fair.
I know Commissioner Harpstead will be confirmed today, but I hope no one sits comfortably in doing so. I hope you all ask her about her disparity-creating record. I also hoped this committee would have more minorities given Minnesota’s high racial disparities in every category, particularly health and human services.
Idil Abdull – Somali Autism Mom & Advocate
The above words do not reflect any candidate, agency, or committee.
Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Advocate