December 12, 2008

New York Recoups Half A Billion In Medicaid Payment Fraud

Gov. David Paterson said in a statement on Friday that New York state has recovered $551 million in Medicaid payments that were obtained through fraud and abuse, which equals about half of the entire amount that the federal government won back.

Boasting one of the nation's most generous Medicaid programs, New York pays for healthcare for the poor, disabled and elderly. But the Democratic governor said the latest Department of Justice data shows the Bush administration has only recouped a total of $1.1 billion in the U.S. fiscal year.

Paterson said the latest total for the federal government, which ended its fiscal year on September 30, falls short of the $1.5 billion it recovered last year and is only half of what it recovered in 2006.

But with the State's fallen tax revenues and Wall Street's floundering profits, New York is left with a 15-month, $15 billion deficit, making it especially important to prevent Medicaid abuse.

"New York is leading the way in monitoring and identifying Medicaid fraud, waste and abuse -- all the while maintaining the integrity of the program for those who truly need services," said Paterson in a statement.

The governor said the federal government requires states to root out Medicaid abuses, and New York agreed to find $215 million of wrongdoing. Last year, all 50 states recovered a combined $305 million.

Medicaid and education were singled out for the biggest cuts in a $2 billion plan to shrink the deficit that was rejected by lame duck Senate Republicans last month, the governor said.

Patterson will unveil his first budget plan next week, however a leadership feud among Senate Democrats, who won a two-seat majority in November, might delay action.


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