ST. PAUL — The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe has produced email correspondence that the band says proves the state of Minnesota should be on the hook for more than $13 million in potential overbilling of federal drug-treatment funds.

According to the American Indian band and the email chain it produced Wednesday, Aug. 7, officials with the Minnesota Department of Human Services told officials with the band that the way the band was billing was correct and should continue, even though, apparently, it wasn’t correct.

Wednesday’s developments are the latest in what is shaping up to be finger-pointing between the state and some Native American tribes over some $25.3 million in Medicaid funds that DHS overpaid to the tribes over the course of several years.

News of the problem broke last week as state officials were deciding how to go public with it. DHS’ handling of the situation rankled officials with both the Leech Lake Band and White Earth Nation, whose accounts differ from the state’s.

Everyone seems to agree on the basic problem: DHS paid the tribes for medication that patients self-administered at home, but at a higher rate, as if they were treated in a clinic. The disagreement seems to be over whose fault it is.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has said the state could be on the hook for the money — initially — but according to statements from Leech Lake, the state sent notice that it was planning a “recovery” of more than $13.3 million from the band.

That’s not right, Leech Lake Chairman Faron Jackson said Wednesday, because tribal workers double-checked with DHS on the rate as far back as 2017, and as recently as earlier this year, and DHS said the higher rate was correct.

“After years of the same billing practices in accordance with our billing agreements, in accordance with guidance from DHS, it’s disconcerting that as they change their interpretation, they want the Band to be on the hook going so far back,” Jackson said in a statement. “We simply will not pay because we are not at fault.”

Acting DHS Commissioner Pam Wheelock released the following statement Wednesday evening: “We welcome the response from Chairman Jackson of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. We understand that this is an issue that requires more exploration in partnership with one another. There is much more to learn about what contributed to this situation. That is why we requested the Office of the Legislative Auditor to provide an independent assessment. We are committed to complying with state and federal requirements.”