"Policies that limited treatment options led to the unintended consequences of increased ER visits," Gurley-Calvez wrote in the report.
The enhanced plan encouraged Medicaid recipients to develop stronger ties with family doctors. Enrollees also had to agree to follow health-improvement plans. In return, they received more prescription benefits, mental health services and substance abuse treatment.
Perdue said the state did a poor job getting the word out about the enhanced plan.
"The huge problem early on was nobody knew what it was," he said.
West Virginia started its redesigned Medicaid program in March 2007. The program was designed, in part, to reduce the number of Medicaid recipients who go to hospital emergency rooms for non-emergencies. The change was expected to lead to lower health-care costs.
"Government, even when it's bad, should be responsible for its errors," Perdue said. "In this case, it wasn't."
Gurley-Calvez and state Medicaid officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.