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Archive for Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Kansas SRS increases efforts to fight fraud

August 2, 2011, 8:19 a.m. Updated August 2, 2011, 1:38 p.m.

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— Kansas Social and Rehabilitation Services Secretary Rob Siedlecki has hired a new staff attorney to lead fraud investigations for the department.

Ken Thompson is the new director of fraud investigations for the agency, which administers social services through a variety of state programs. His responsibilities will include managing all investigators, preparing litigation and overseeing information.

Siedlecki said Monday that Thompson's appointment is part of an effort to reactivate investigations that were discontinued under previous SRS administrations. Siedlecki says the goal is to restore public trust in government by ensuring that benefits are distributed to those who need and deserve them.

Thompson recently was an attorney for the 11-county southeast Kansas region of SRS. He also is a lieutenant colonel in the Judge Advocate General's Corps of the Army Reserve.

Comments

Gandalf 3 years, 4 months ago

brownback and siedlecki should be his 1st order of business.

Lana Christie-Hayes 3 years, 4 months ago

So how much is THIS Brownback chronie going to get paid on the heals of cutting services?? Makes me ILL!

Alyosha 3 years, 4 months ago

The best way to "help restore public trust in government" is for Brownback to quit playing politics with crucial social services that past democratically elected KS governments have enacted.

Or better yet, a better way to restore trust is for Brownback to resign.

skinny 3 years, 4 months ago

I am all for it. The more money they save and recover means the less taxes I pay!

newmedia 3 years, 4 months ago

Right on! Right on! Going to investigate fraud that previous administrations discontinued. Kind of makes you wonder why they were discontinued. Hmmm.

Alyosha 3 years, 4 months ago

Did it occur to you that the investigations were discontinued due to lack of any evidence or because the charges of fraud were bogus?

somedude20 3 years, 4 months ago

They hide their funk well. There is a better chance of finding some sort of god before you will see the dirt that Brownback has hidden

Cant_have_it_both_ways 3 years, 4 months ago

You guys just don't get it. Fraud is all over the place. By ensuring funds go to those who actually need it, the whole system gets better. Hopefully, this new layer of oversight will more than pay for itself shortly.

How many primary care providers you think do not over bill medicare as medicare only pays a fraction of the price they would get from a private insurance company. If tort reform was part of the system, then all the extra (Cover my butt) tests would not be ordered, thus saving the taxpayer money.

There are fake companies out there that seal social security numbers and bill medicare for bogus services, many of which are in Florida. Before you get your panties in a bunch, get with the program. Hopefully, $7 asprins are next.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

Wait, isn't this something that, by right, belongs to the AG's office? Aren't they the ones that are supposed to investigate fraud? Why does SRS need it's own attorney? They've never needed one before. Given that the legislature passed mandatory cuts in SRS, how is Siedlecki justifying yet another administrative post that has never existed before? Especially one for which we already have attorneys and investigative teams in place? How is this person supposed to "recover funds received fraudulently" so much better than the AG's office? Does he have extrasensory powers we aren't aware of?

tomatogrower 3 years, 4 months ago

I think he should work for a percent of the fraud he finds. Maybe he will actually do something. How much is this guy going to be paid. It's our tax dollars, so that should be public knowledge. And I wonder how much he brought into Brownback's election coffers?

auntmimi210 3 years, 4 months ago

Cant Have It, you might want to "get with the program"...this article is about MEDICAID, not Medicare. Two totally different programs.

BigAl 3 years, 4 months ago

Brownback and Siedlecki are cutting programs for those less fortunate while hiring their cronies in at high wages. Now we have hired an attorney friend that will be doing the work that our AG should be doing. This guy along with Kahrs (at $100k) and Pilato at ($97K) are three new positions created by Brownback that we cannot afford.
Cronyism at its' worst!

Jan Rolls 3 years, 4 months ago

Unless he plans to do all his own typing, phone calls, etc. I am sure he will have a full office staff. Yeah right we don't have money to help those who need it but we have money to keep hiring his buddies and creating state jobs while laying off others.

scott3460 3 years, 4 months ago

Funny, back on the Friday when all the firings took place several months ago they named a new head person for the SE region with the last name of Thompson, as well. Anyone know if there is a relation?

Also, he's from SE Kansas. Anyone know if he has any experience with the sorts of urban fraud issues he's sure to face in Topeka, KCK & JoCo?

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

Don't forget Wichita. It's the largest city in Kansas. Or did the Kochs scare them all away?

Shelley Bock 3 years, 4 months ago

Interesting. This used to be done by the Attorney General's office as a felony prosecution. Has something changed?

Major impact will be to remove excessive payments from the rolls and not collect monies wrongfully paid out, unless the payment goes to a business. Often times, over-payments occur because the recipient doesn't understand the rules which come in 3 ringed binders inches thick.

Will the same sort of scrutiny be applied to business that pad the bills to the state for services, construction projects or supplies? Will the independent counsel hired by the State bill in .25 hour increments or just in .1 hour increments? Probably not.

Corporate welfare thrives.

lawslady 3 years, 4 months ago

When it was in the AG's office it was there to avoid the fox guarding the chickens. Since SRS gives out these funds, it was thought that an independent prosecutor/investigator could be less biased and more able to ferret out fraud. But the Gov wants ALL things under his thumb.

lawslady 3 years, 4 months ago

When it was in the AG's office it was there to avoid the fox guarding the chickens. Since SRS gives out these funds, it was thought that an independent prosecutor/investigator could be less biased and more able to ferret out fraud. But the Gov wants ALL things under his thumb.

Lana Christie-Hayes 3 years, 4 months ago

Absolutely... one after another, after another!!! .. a "very bad trend" INDEED!!

Scott Morgan 3 years, 4 months ago

There is a 4 way stop sign in a rural area near here. There are farm fields on all sides and one can see forever. I have never seen another vehicle there let alone the law. I never ever stop.

If this area was patrolled, I would change this behavior. I think Welfare fraud is a bit like the above scenario. People ignore the laws because they do not think they can be caught. If they do, it's always a slap on the hand.

SRS fraud = no meals on wheels for people who need it. SRS fraud = no benefits for hardworking honest deserving citizens.

Joe Hyde 3 years, 4 months ago

Hate to be so fussy, but the AP story doesn't clarify whether this "new attorney" (Mr. Johnson) got hired to a "new" (as in, newly-created) position within SRS, or whether he's a "new" (as in, replacement)) attorney hired to fill a pre-existing post after its former occupant left SRS due to retirement/resignation/termination.

At least Secretary Siedlecki hired someone who is actually a Kansas resident, and I appreciate that. But if the aim here is to reactivate discontinued investigations whose outcomes will recover money fraudulently obtained from SRS during previous administrations, well, good luck. Them there dollars done gone bye-bye. About the best that can be expected is SRS tracks down some thieves (at state expense), has them arrested and tried in court (at state expense), the thieves get sentenced to jail terms (housing provided at state expense), then upon their release SRS puts them back on the client roll.

Lana Christie-Hayes 3 years, 4 months ago

"Siedlecki said Monday that Thompson's hiring is part of an initiative to reactivate investigations that were discontinued under previous SRS administrations. Siedlecki says the recovery of funds would help restore public trust in government by better management of resources." Trust>>>Really? I don't trust a darned thing that Siedlecki or Brownback say or do!!! "Better management of resources" MY FOOT!

Flap Doodle 3 years, 4 months ago

Fascinating to see who is in favor of fraud and abuse.

gudpoynt 3 years, 4 months ago

Here's the letter I wrote on July 12:

Dear Mr. Brownback and Mr. Siedlecki,

Since you seem pretty adamant in guaranteeing that all 87 employees of the Douglas Co SRS office in Lawrence shall be able to retain their position if so desired, can you inform us exactly where those 87 positions will redistributed?

How many of those 87 positions can feasibly be accommodated in neighboring offices? How many will need to be moved to offices over 50 miles away?... over 100 miles away?

Would making accommodations for these 87 position counteract the Governor's cost saving recommendation in the 2012 budget, to "[eliminate] 550 positions that have been vacant for some time"?

After assuring that there would be no layoffs, you said that if employees of the Douglas Co office chose to retire or resign, rather than commuting or moving to new locations, that the vacated positions would be reevaluated as to whether or not they should be filled.

First, do you acknowledge that some employees may be essentially forced to quit, and that requiring them to incur unacceptable commuting or moving costs in order to retain their position is effectively the same as laying them off?

Second, during the evaluation process, did you, or any of your advisers, make an estimation on how many employees out of the 87 would either resign or retire as a result of closing the Douglas Co office? If so, what were some of those estimations?

And finally, considering the impact that closing the SRS office in Lawrence would have, to what degree did you seek alternatives at keeping it open? For instance, did you consider cutting staff? Did you attempt to locate a cheaper office space alternative? Can you please provide a brief list of the alternatives discussed and why they were not favored over closing the office completely?

Concise, but definitive answers to these questions would much appreciated. Thank you.

Sincerely, ME

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 4 months ago

My prediction is that he'll uncover a few legitimate fraud cases, but the vast majority of his "enforcement activity" will be the harassment of folks who have legitimate needs, but there are minor irregularities in their paper work.

Scott Morgan 3 years, 4 months ago

No fraud

I watched an episode of Judge Joe Brown, or Judge Joe not really sure of the exact name. It was a case in which a young angry lady was trying to argue a lease. Specifically damage incurred by a flood. No matter, but what was interesting is the following.

Of course this happened in another state

  1. She was an habitual welfare recipient yet declared she was not receiving welfare. She had a number of children. Wow, people living without income and didn't know somebody is paying.

  2. She was in Section 8 housing, but thought the state paying the majority of her rent was not welfare.

  3. She looked healthy and was quite articulate. Nobody worked in her household. In fact the judge scolded her being home all day and not providing a better role model.

  4. Her 18 year old daughter was pregnant, with no father in the picture, let alone husband. Not on lease

  5. Her over 18 year old son was living there too. Not on lease

Besides the fact there was no shame showed, but a rather I am owed feeling to her, the other adults were not approved to live there. Or welfare fraud. If these adults nibble on one hot pocket food stamp purchased crumb, that's fraud as well. And we can't afford to deliver meals to deserving folks.

Good grief libs, you can't see how and why we are ruining these folks lives by providing for them? What chance do the two young adults have to better themselves. IIn fact mommy was not that old and seemed very employable. Are we producing generations who think the American dream is Section 8 and food stamps?

scott3460 3 years, 4 months ago

Gee, suppose there is any corporate media bias to these shows?

More pap for the Fauxed up masses to keep them divided and inattentive to the theft underway by the true criminals.

Ronda Miller 3 years, 4 months ago

Wissmo, good points. I've seen numerous examples of fraud over the past 30 years and only this past year (a couple of months ago) did an investigator actually come and ask questions about a suspicious situation. If the 'average' person had any idea how many of 'the couples living beside rhem smoking a couple of packs of smokes a day and driving a newer car than they drive are recipients of some form (perhaps several), of governmental assisted handouts they would be in shock. Our state, as do many others, has been detrimental to their own downfall. It is a system that's been throwing handfuls of money out - it's time to lasso the spending in. Are there people who need assistance, absolutely. There are also people being rewarded to have children and not getting married where both parents are living under the same roof without the state's knowledge. Going after deadbeat dads should top our governor's list of things to do.

Scott Morgan 3 years, 4 months ago

I agree just. When a 90 year old tax all her life women who raised kids and was nothing but a positive to the community applies reluctantly for meals on wheels and is rejected there is something wrong.

Carol Bowen 3 years, 4 months ago

Hiring an attorney to look for fraud among SRS recipients? How many attorneys do we need? It sounds like we are trying to squeeze juice out of a rock. Sure, there may be some fraud, but not enough to justify another attorney's salary.

There is a blog set up to discuss what types of services are needed. See http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/loyal-opposition/2011/jul/30/the-social-safety-net-a-dialogue/#c1702175

handley 3 years, 4 months ago

how many people have to commit fraud match this lawyers wages. Just asking?

black_butterfly 3 years, 4 months ago

Why don't they hire two licensed social workers at $35,000 each. I bet that would still be less than they are going to pay this attorney. The social workers would have better insight on how to recognize the fraud in the first place. Maybe they could employ two of the SRS workers that will soon be out of a job in October.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 4 months ago

The problem is that the social workers would then have a disincentive to find fraud. If they did, then their jobs could be eliminated. And the jobs of the people at the next desk, the people they have lunch with every day. Telling social workers to find and eliminate fraud makes as much sense as having Dick Cheney (when he was V.P.) to go behind closed doors with some oil company execs. and figure out what America's energy policy should be.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

"....makes as much sense as having Dick Cheney (when he was V.P.) to go behind closed doors with some oil company execs. and figure out what America's energy policy should be." I thought Bush was the one with oil ties. Cheney was too busy awarding no bid contracts to Halliburton in Iraq in which he owned stock. (Actually, wasn't he on the board of directors?)

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

Oh and by the way, where's the incentive for this attorney to do the same? I thought this sort of thing was why it was handled by the AG's office in the first place.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 4 months ago

The attorney presumably is hired to do a specific job for a specific period of time. And when the report is done, his job ends. Unless the suggestion was for a social worker be hired for a year or two to ferret out fraud and then their job would end, then that is the difference.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 4 months ago

P.S. the basic question is one of conflict of interest. The social worker has a conflict of interest, just as the oil execs. had working behind closed doors in the White House. I don't know how much fraud exists within SRS. But I'd like to know.

Scott Morgan 3 years, 4 months ago

Like most criminals Silver, voter frauders have not come forth and declared they were defeated.

I guess you think if we step up bank security, bank robbers would state they are giving up. Oh my, you libs.

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