Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the largest single year of recoveries of taxpayer dollars in the history of the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG). Preliminary calculations show the administration recovered more than $851 million dollars for 2013. This brings the three-year total under Governor Cuomo to more than $1.73 billion recovered from Medicaid providers who inappropriately billed Medicaid and individuals who received services to which they were not entitled. This is a 34 percent increase over the previous three years. OMIG’s recoveries are the highest on record for any state Medicaid program integrity unit.
“With more than $851 million recovered from Medicaid abuses in 2013 alone – the most in the State’s history – New York is truly leading the nation in fighting fraud and protecting taxpayer dollars,” Governor Cuomo said. “Our focus on cleaning up the Medicaid program is showing record-breaking results, and OMIG’s efforts serve as a role model for other states to follow. Eliminating this kind of waste is vital to transforming New York’s healthcare system, and this year’s tremendous amount of recoveries shows that we are well on our way to building a healthier and fairer New York.”
“Fighting Medicaid fraud is a cornerstone of our efforts, and anyone who steals from Medicaid should know that we will find them. OMIG is proud of this record result,” said Medicaid Inspector General James C. Cox. “This is an extraordinary accomplishment, and an historical achievement. Through dedication and perseverance, our staff not only met but exceeded all expectations in recoveries for the year. Governor Cuomo’s support was crucial to our efforts.”
These results reflect the administration’s focus on eliminating or preventing fraud, waste, and abuse, particularly in the Medicaid program. OMIG has worked to eliminate fraud through aggressive responses to allegations of fraud in social adult day care, excluding unscrupulous providers, and focusing on ineligible individuals. Among the improvements in fraud and abuse prevention established under the Cuomo administration are the creation of pre-claim reviews – specialized reviews of home health claims and inventory reports – improved practices for reviewing pharmacy operations, and strong data sharing and coordination with federal, state, and local partners.
Some notable actions in 2013 included:
- Cracking Down on Ineligible Individuals – OMIG investigated a ring of ineligible individuals who had been fraudulently enrolled in the Medicaid program in Brooklyn, New York. In these cases, members of an exclusive gated beachfront community had fabricated information on their Medicaid applications in order to bypass eligibility limits. One notable case included an individual who vacationed in Las Vegas and drove a Porsche, Aston-Martin, and a BMW. This work lead to six prosecutions by the Brooklyn District Attorney for welfare fraud, grand larceny, and offering a false instrument for filing.
- Recovering Home Health Payments – OMIG reconciled Medicare and Medicaid payments for dual-eligible Medicaid consumers. When Medicaid consumers are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, home health care providers should first bill Medicare, and then bill Medicaid for whatever portion of the bill Medicare does not pay. OMIG’s work to review statewide home health payments identified instances where the Medicare program should have paid but did not. This work identified $496 million in inappropriate Medicaid billings. OMIG recovered $211 million in New York State’s share for taxpayers during 2013.
- Ensuring that Medicaid Services Meet Quality Standards – OMIG audited Abbott House in Irvington, New York, to check compliance with Medicaid regulations regarding outpatient services. These services are furnished at clinic and day treatment facilities and through home- and community-based federal waiver programs. The audit found information was missing from Medicaid consumer records needed to support reimbursement for service. Auditors discovered that critical components of consumer records were absent, so they could not confirm whether a consumer had responded to treatment, or whether the treatment had been delivered in the first place. Additionally, Abbott House billed for more days of service than were documented, as well as for services when there was not a required residential habilitation plan. OMIG recovered the full amount – more than $254,000 – from this provider. The audit can be seen here.
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.
The Governor's original press release can be seen here.