TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Wayne R. Bryant that would establish the Office of Medicaid Inspector General to help fight insurance fraud was unanimously approved today by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
“With the budget deadline rapidly approaching, the legislature is trying to find ways to cut spending and eliminate waste throughout the state. According to the federal Government Accountability Office, nearly $900 million in Medicaid funding is wasted each year through Medicaid fraud,” said Senator Bryant, D-Camden and Gloucester, who serves as Chair of the Senate Budget and Appropriations panel. “By creating the post of Medicaid Inspector General, we will be able to identify the people who are defrauding of the Medicaid system and siphoning off the hard earned tax dollars from working New Jerseyans.”
Senator Bryant’s bill, S-1852, would establish an independent Office of Medicaid Inspector General and appropriate $3 million annually for office operations. The Medicaid Inspector General position would be responsible for identifying and rooting out fraud, waste and abuse within the Medicaid system, including recovering improperly expended funds and recommending persons found guilty of Medicaid related crimes to the State Attorney General for prosecution.
The Governor would be responsible for appointing the Medicaid Inspector General who would be a licensed attorney, and cannot have worked in the Medicaid system within the previous two years prior to appointment. The Medicaid Inspector General would be responsible for issuing annual reports documenting audit and investigational findings, and recommendations for corrective actions.
After nearly a nearly year-long review of the State’s Medicaid system, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee held a hearing on Medicaid fraud on March 14. During the hearing, the Committee heard testimony from State Medicaid Director Ann Kohler, Deputy Health and Senior Services Director Matt D’Oria, State Auditor Richard Fair and John Krayniak, Supervising Deputy Attorney General in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
This measure now heads to the full Senate for approval.