Reliance Ambulette, a Flushing, New York -based provider of medical transportation services, overbilled the Medicaid program by $2,487,129 during a two-year period, according to a recent audit (#08-1781) completed by the New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) in conjunction with the New York City Human Resources Administration. The audit cites the company for lack of compliance with standards required by the Medicaid program. The audit was conducted under the auspices of the County Demonstration Program, a joint state and local partnership, overseen by OMIG.
Reliance was cited for several issues. These included:
- failure to ensure that all drivers were duly licensed by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (T&LC) and 19-A certified by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles
- failure to prepare and maintain contemporaneous records demonstrating its right to receive payment, and
- missing or inaccurate information on the Medicaid claims submitted for payment.
The audit can be seen here.
Manor Pharmacy Inc. in Sullivan County applied for enrollment as a provider with Medicaid. After discrepancies were found in the application, OMIG conducted an undercover investigation at the pharmacy. Investigators discovered that Manor filled a prescription later billed to Medicaid through another provider, Sullivan Pharmacy. Based on this unacceptable practice, OMIG denied enrollment to Manor Pharmacy under 18 NYCRR §504.5(a) (13). OMIG sent an educational letter to the billing pharmacy to instruct them that they may not bill for prescriptions that are not filled at their store.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York’s Medicaid program saved taxpayers more than $58 million in 2013 through the use of corporate integrity agreements (CIAs) to monitor and improve provider operations. This announcement by the Governor and the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) comes during National Corporate Compliance and Ethics Week 2014.
“Three-and-a-half years ago, we said we would change Medicaid in New York by cutting the waste and bureaucracy to better serve those who benefit from these services the most—taxpayers. That is exactly what we have accomplished,” said Governor Cuomo. “This state leads the nation in Medicaid recoveries and compliance efforts, proving that the use of ‘Corporate Integrity Agreements’ are worth the investment. I applaud the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General for continuing to find savings for taxpayers while maintaining the high quality of service New York is known for.”
CIA agreements are offered by OMIG to providers with a history of program integrity issues as an alternative to exclusion from the Medicaid program, when exclusion might lead to extenuating circumstances such as service shortages within a given geographical area. Providers who enter into a CIA are required to learn about compliance and create compliance-testing structures. Each provider subject to a CIA must also pay for an independent review organization (IRO) which reports to OMIG and monitors provider adherence to the CIA. These activities result in cost avoidance to the Medicaid program which totaled $58,090,814 in 2013.
Medicaid Inspector General James C. Cox said, “Measuring the effect of CIAs gives us a handle on some of the impact of our expanded compliance efforts. Improving provider regulatory adherence has the added benefit of saving taxpayer dollars.”
Each CIA is unique, as is each provider. If the IRO detects a material breach of the terms of the CIA and reports this to OMIG via the monitoring process, the provider may ultimately be excluded from the Medicaid program. However, the goals of the CIA process are to improve the provider’s program integrity efforts, to educate providers about ways in which they can improve their compliance programs which directly relate to detection of internal risk areas, and lead to preventing and reducing fraud, waste and abuse in the Medicaid program
Two major features characterize CIAs. The first is heightened monitoring of the “eight elements” of the compliance program required under Part 521 of New York’s Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) for Medicaid providers. The second is overseeing providers’ progress in correcting issues, including improvements in provider billing and record-keeping systems, among others, that contributed to the unacceptable practice(s) that gave rise to the need for a CIA. OMIG has maintained CIAs since 2009, and all providers who are being monitored under CIAs are listed on OMIG’s Web site under the Compliance section.
During National Compliance Week 2014, OMIG will post new compliance information and updates every day. Additionally, OMIG will host a live tweet session from 1-2 PM via OMIG’s Twitter feed (@NYSOMIG), using #ComplianceNY, when members of the provider community will have the opportunity to tweet questions to OMIG’s compliance team and receive responses. Providers can send questions in advance to email@example.com for consideration for answers during the live session.
New Yorkers can assist the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General in fighting fraud, waste, and abuse by reporting potentially suspicious behavior or incidents. OMIG encourages anyone who observes instances of potential Medicaid fraud, waste, or abuse to contact OMIG’s fraud hotline at 1-877-87-FRAUD or visit the Web site at www.omig.ny.gov. Tips can be completely anonymous, and OMIG investigates information from all calls received.
Click here to read the Governor's announcement.
Stuart Blankman, a Manhattan optometrist, requested reinstatement into the Medicaid program. New York City Criminal Court had convicted Blankman in September 2012 for harassment after he admitted to inappropriate conduct that placed a female patient in reasonable fear of physical injury and led to her having an order of protection instituted against him. OMIG denied reinstatement under 18 NYCRR §515.10(g) since Blankman’s conviction has a direct bearing on his ability to potentially provide safe, high-quality care to Medicaid patients.
For more information on the reinstatement process and how it works, see the OMIG webinar on the Exclusion and Reinstatement Process
If you have any questions about this or other compliance-related matters, please contact OMIG’s Bureau of Compliance at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can help stop Medicaid fraud: Call OMIG’s Fraud Hotline at 1-877-87 FRAUD (1-877-873-7283), or click here to file a complaint electronically.
The OMIG may sanction some providers by excluding them from participating in the Medicaid program. These providers are excluded from offering services to Medicaid enrollees and also cannot be paid with Medicaid dollars. Prior to adding new staff members, employers should check to see if prospective employees have been excluded from Medicaid. To make it easier to perform such a check, OMIG set up a dedicated service to check the status of any exclusion.
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Anytime a health care organization discovers that it was paid more than it was due, this should be reported to OMIG. Our Self-Disclosure section provides information for health care organizations to complete the recently revamped self-disclosure process.
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