Topeka A key lawmaker on Monday criticized Kansas health officials and said he would propose a bill for the Legislature to take over supervision of the state’s Medicaid inspector general.
Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, R-Independence, said his move was prompted by two things: a recent audit that questioned $13 million in Medicaid expenditures, and the response to the audit by the Kansas Health Policy Authority, which oversees the program.
“The disturbing response from the health care bureaucracy was to defend the problems and attack the auditors,” Schmidt said. “I think we ought to be defending the auditors and attacking the problems.”
An audit released last month found $13 million of “suspicious” Medicaid claims.
Medicaid is the federal and state tax-funded program that provides health care to low-income residents. In the last fiscal year, the program cost approximately $2.3 billion in Kansas.
But KHPA officials said some of the questionable Medicaid claims raised in the audit were based on data entry problems or when certain pieces of information, such as a Social Security number, were not readily apparent.
And they noted that most of the audit period occurred prior to the time KHPA assumed responsibility for managing Medicaid.
Schmidt also questioned why KHPA has kept the inspector general position vacant recently because of budgetary reasons.
Schmidt said his legislation would place the inspector general’s office into the Legislative Division of Post Audit. That way, he said, the office could be independent of KHPA and answer to the Legislature’s chief auditor.