TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Wayne R. Bryant and Joseph F. Vitale that would establish the Office of Medicaid Inspector General to help fight insurance fraud was approved today by the Assembly Appropriations Committee by a vote of 9-4.
“Each year New Jersey loses an estimated $900 million through insurance fraud,” said Senator Bryant, D-Camden and Gloucester. “This legislation would help abolish one known source of wasted funds and work to help the State use tax dollars more effectively.”
“Medicaid provides necessary healthcare to residents who normally would not be able to afford medical insurance,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex, and Chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. “I will not allow profiteers who are simply looking to make a quick buck at the State’s expense continue to rob the program of dollars earmarked to help some of our least fortunate residents.”
The Senators’ 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 was unanimously approved by the full Senate on June 22.