Senate Medicaid Reform Task Force To Hold Medicaid Fraud Hearings

Joseph E. Robach

July 26, 2005

Senator Joseph E. Robach today announced that the Senate Medicaid Reform Task Force will hold a series of statewide hearings on Medicaid fraud to build support for State action on a problem that is costing New York taxpayers billions of dollars.

"These hearings will help New Yorkers understand the root of the problem and give the Assembly the push they need to enact reforms to change New York’s Medicaid system" stated Senator Robach.

The statewide hearings will solicit input from experts in the Medicaid, health care and law enforcement fields. The Task Force will also look at what other states are doing to combat fraud, and what Washington is doing to address Medicaid fraud at the federal level.

This new round of hearings will build on recent events that have created momentum to crack down on Medicaid fraud. Yesterday, Congressman John Sweeney and Senator Dean Skelos, sponsor of the Senate Medicaid fraud bill, called for a federal audit on how New York is spending its share of federal money on antifraud efforts. Additionally, Governor George Pataki yesterday appointed a special prosecutor and proposed other reforms to safeguard the Medicaid system and save taxpayers money.

A recent New York Times series of articles based on a year-long investigation detailed the depth of the Medicaid fraud problem that costs taxpayers millions of dollars every day, while it correctly points out that state enforcement and oversight has been lacking or ineffective, ranking New York at or near the bottom in combating fraud.

"The Senate has been focused on reforming the Medicaid system and cracking down on fraud, and we will continue to advance this issue until we get laws enacted in this State that adequately address the problem," said Senator Bruno. "The climate is right to build on our previous efforts, and we must enact real reforms now that will save taxpayers money, punish criminals that are cheating the system and keep Medicaid functioning effectively."

The Senate Medicaid Reform Task Force was created in June 2003 to conduct the first comprehensive review of New York’s Medicaid system and develop a long term vision for making Medicaid more efficient while providing quality affordable health care. After an extensive statewide review and inclusive hearing process, the Task Force issued comprehensive recommendations to ensure the Medicaid system can continue to efficiently provide quality care to those in need. Several of the Task Force’s recommendations have already become law.

Specific hearing dates and times will be announced soon.