State Senators Carl L. Marcellino, Dean G. Skelos, Kemp Hannon and Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. today joined Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen M. Rice to announce $750,000 in state funding for the creation of a Medicaid Fraud Unit in Nassau County.
"Medicaid fraud places an undue financial burden on taxpayers and it takes funds away from those that need it most. This funding demonstrates that the Senate will not tolerate the abuse of public funds intended to help the most vulnerable members of our society," said Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R-Syosset).
The U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates that 10 percent of health care spending is lost to fraud and abuse. The Medicaid Fraud Unit will work to recoup funds lost to fraud in Nassau County through aggressive investigation and prosecution. Recovered funding will provide financial relief to homeowners by reducing costs in the county budget, which is funded through local property taxes. The Unit will operate under the District Attorney’s Government and Consumer Frauds Bureau and will partner with the new state Office of Medicaid Inspector General and the state Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit to root out fraud, waste and profiteering in the Medicaid system.
The State Senators secured the $750,000 in funding through the 2007-08 state budget. The funds will be utilized to hire specialized staff experienced in investigating and prosecuting Medicaid fraud.
District Attorney Rice said, "The creation of this unit will have an immediate impact on our ability to protect tax dollars and strengthen this vital program. These legislators have shown a real commitment to giving law enforcement in Nassau County the tools we need to fight modern crime and protect our tax dollars."
According to the New York State Department of Health statistics, 2005 Medicaid expenditures for Nassau County were in excess of $1.3 billion.
Last year, Long Island Senators successfully fought to create a tough new state law to combat Medicaid fraud. The law includes creation of the office of an independent Medicaid Inspector General with the power to aggressively investigate Medicaid fraud and established new penalties for those convicted of Medicaid offenses. The law also authorizes the creation of partnerships between the state and local district attorneys to help prosecute more cases of Medicaid fraud.