Attorney General Bill McCollum News Release
March 9, 2010
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
Attorney General, Senate President Unveil Legislation Targeting Medicaid Fraud
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today joined Senator Joe Negron to unveil legislation targeting Medicaid fraud, specifically in the managed care area. The proposed legislation will enhance the state’s resources to address the critical area of managed care which, at more than $2.4 billion last year, is the second-largest expenditure of the Medicaid program. Medicaid fraud committed by managed care organizations ultimately inflate the premiums paid by the Medicaid program.
“I am proud of the record-breaking recoveries my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit has made over the last three years, including $198 million last year, as well as the increasing number of convictions obtained against Medicaid fraud perpetrators. I believe our mission will be further enhanced with this bill,” said Attorney General McCollum. “By giving us greater access to pursue managed care fraud, we will be able to ensure that more dollars go to Floridians in need rather than the pockets of criminals who exploit the system.”
The Attorney General has been working with the Senate leadership on a proposal for the past several weeks, and today’s legislation is the product of collaboration between the Attorney General’s Office and the Florida Senate.
Currently, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit has limited ability to investigate private health insurance companies that contract with the Medicaid program, while full investigative authority is vested in the Division of Insurance Fraud within the Department of Financial Services. The legislation will expand the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit to include investigators solely focused on managed care who will be collocated at the Division of Insurance Fraud, although still under the authority of the Attorney General’s Unit. If passed and signed into law, the change will take effect on January 1, 2011.
The legislation also creates a strike force that will include the Attorney General, several agency heads, and five additional appointed members. The strike force will be tasked with developing a strategic plan for coordinating and targeting state and local resources for preventing and prosecuting Medicaid and public assistance fraud. Additionally, the legislation will establish a procedure for auditing the state’s Medicaid program, among other provisions.
The Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit has obtained record-breaking recoveries over the past few years and has seen the number of convictions for Medicaid fraud more than double since 2007. The Unit is ranked fourth in the nation by the Department of Health and Human Services in terms of recovered amounts, even though it has seen substantial budget and staff reductions since 2008.