Archive for Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Senator calls for Medicaid oversight

January 6, 2009


— 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.


Leslie Swearingen 9 years, 4 months ago

Medicaid is vital so I hope they reach a conclusion that is fair to the people who deserve it. Those who are receiving Social Security payments automatically qualify for Medicaid when they are approved. There is no possible way to monitor the personal behaviors of each and every individual and control what they eat, what they drink, whether they smoke or not.Slim people seem to deride fat people and have contempt for them for lack of self-control. Some people like food just because it tastes good, no deep underlying reasons to probe.There is rather extensive paperwork that you have to fill out and you do have to bring proofs, such as a letter from your landlord verifying residence and rent amount, statements from utilities, and a birth certificate and and social security card, as well as a valid Kansas ID or drivers license.Given all this I would like it unlikely that very many people are slipping unnoticed though the system.

merritr 9 years, 4 months ago

Gov. Sebelius was not defending the problems, she was simply explaining what the findings were. Some of them weren't fraud incidents, they were clerical errors, or unintended mistakes. Private insurers make even more of these mistakes than Medicare and Medicaid, from what I've read. So if half of the $13 million was due to fraud, then 0.28% - less than 1/3rd of 1 percent - can be attributed to fraud. Kansas should be happy that their Medicaid tax dollars are being abused less often then every other state. I can't imagine fraud has a smaller impact on other Medicaid budgets than it does here in Kansas. I don't disagree with Schmidt's position on where to house the inspector general's position. You can't ask any agency to be responsible for policing itself. That is an open invitation for corruption at worst, and a huge lack of transparency at best.

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