Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt joined his colleagues from across the aisle and across the country in asking for a reduction in regulation on state-based Medicaid Fraud Control Units.
“Every state, save one, has what is called a Medicaid Fraud Control Unit,” said Schmidt. “Ours in Kansas is based in the Attorney General’s office. It is a group of law enforcement officers, analysts and prosecutors whose job it is to combat fraud by providers in the Medicaid program and to combat abuse and neglect of Medicaid beneficiaries.”
Since part of the money to pay for the units is federal, there are restrictions on what the units are allowed to do, the attorneys general assert that some of those restrictions don’t make sense.
“For example, we can use our officers and prosecutors to go after the abuse of a Medicaid beneficiary while he or she is in a nursing home,” said Schmidt. “We cannot use the same law enforcement officers and prosecutors to go after the same type of abuse of the same beneficiary if it were to occur in a home health care setting.”
States have asked that they be allowed to use MFCUs to investigate and prosecute the abuse and neglect of Medicaid beneficiaries wherever it may occur, including in non-institutional settings. Second, they asked that MFCU staff be allowed to screen complaints or reports alleging potential abuse or neglect from any source and without restriction to complaints alleging abuse or neglect in health care facilities.
“In Kansas, our Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is an important tool in the investigation and prosecution of abuse of Medicaid beneficiaries, because it is more robust than many of the state level assets that we otherwise have, because of the Federal funding stream,” said Schmidt. “We have a significant need because we have a significant Medicaid population. We have a greying population on the whole, so we have more elder persons who may be subject to abuse or neglect. Anytime we can use an asset like this to really leverage our ability to do more to protect Kansans who are in need, it just seems to make good sense.”
Schmidt was joined in the letter by Democrat George Jepsen, the current president of the National Association of Attorneys General. Schmidt is expected to assume that position this summer.
Nick Gosnell is the News Director for WIBW News and the Kansas Information Network. You can follow him on Twitter @NickGosnell11.