TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Wayne R. Bryant and Joseph F. Vitale that would establish the Office of Medicaid of the Medicaid Inspector General to help fight insurance fraud was unanimously approved today by the Senate.
“Medicaid insurance fraud costs the State roughly $900 million each year,” said Senator Bryant, D-Camden and Gloucester. “The creation of the Medicaid Inspector General position would help the State to abolish one source of wasted funding, and allow us to use tax dollars more effectively.”
“By rooting out waste and fraud in Medicaid, we can make State assistance available to those who need us most,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex, the Chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. “Medicaid is an integral part to our State’s health safety net, and it’s our obligation to ensure it is running efficiently. We cannot abide profiteers looking to seek a quick buck at the public’s expense, when hundreds of thousands of people in New Jersey go without health insurance every day.”
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 Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on June 12. It now heads to the Assembly for consideration.