Miami New Times by Jerry Iannelli
January 15, 2019
Mary “Mayhem” Mayhew, Florida’s new Medicaid chief, was accused of all kinds of misdeeds while running Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). She was repeatedly sued and fined for failing to follow various rules while working under then-Governor Paul LePage. Yesterday, New Times described a scathing 2017 federal audit stating that Mayhew’s DHHS failed to investigate the deaths of 133 disabled Medicaid recipients and also did not report hundreds of cases of sexual assault of the disabled to law enforcement.
Mayhew was also accused of downright shady dealings while running Maine’s health services. A 2013 state audit found workers at the Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) shredded public records tied to programs applying for $4.7 million in public-health grants. The same audit discovered a host of other problems with that grant program, including funding deals that seemingly “materialized out of nowhere.” It said the “integrity and credibility” of awards was in question and that some of the grant-awards were likely tainted by “intentional manipulation.”
Auditors found crucial documents showing how various grant bidders “scored” in the application process had been shredded and/or tossed in recycling bins. In March 2014, the Maine CDC’s deputy director, Christine Zukas, informed an oversight board that she told Mayhew about the plan to destroy the documents and that the director had “basically agreed” with the plan.
“I said to the commissioner, ‘We have a final product; we will not be keeping the previous spreadsheets,’” Zukas told Maine’s Government Oversight Committee on March 14 of that year.
One month after Zuka’s testimony, Mayhew denied knowing anything about the plan to destroy public documents. “I did not direct, authorize, acknowledge the destruction of any documents,” Mayhew told the Lewiston Sun-Journal editorial board.