AUGUSTA, Maine — A Democratic lawmaker says that state health officials failed to provide specific answers about a federal audit revealing the agency failed to investigate the deaths of disabled adults.

An August audit by the Office of Inspector General of the federal Department of Health and Human Services found nine deaths were unexplained, suspicious or untimely. The department says the audit doesn’t reflect current practices and disputed some findings.

The Legislature’s Health and Human services Committee asked Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services why individuals appeared to fall through the cracks.

Committee co-chair Democratic Rep. Patty Hymanson called the department’s answers received Tuesday “brief” and “unsatisfactory.” The committee’s Republican co-chair Sen. Eric Brakey didn’t immediately comment.

The health agency’s spokeswoman said it rejects any insinuation that it’s not dedicated to safety.

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