Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Koster outlines importance of fighting Medicaid fraud

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, in this column from the Missouri Democratic Party newsletter issued today, addresses the importance of fighting Medicaid fraud:

One of the key issues I spoke to voters about during the election was detecting and prosecuting Medicaid fraud. If elected I promised to make it one of my top priorities. I am pleased to report that during our first year in office not only was it a top priority, but the results have been record breaking.

I am pleased to tell you today that Missouri had a record year in Medicaid fraud recovery, recovering more than $75 million on behalf of Missouri taxpayers. We received a $1.8 million judgment against a licensed clinical social worker who had falsified patient records and submitted untrue claims to Medicaid. We also settled with a pharmacy owner for $3.9 million after he allegedly double-billed Medicaid and submitted false claims. A pediatric dentist pled guilty to 13 charges of fraud, which is likely to land him in prison. In September, Missouri was part of the largest nationwide Medicaid fraud settlement in history. The historic settlement with Pfizer returned $22 million to the state of Missouri for paying kickbacks and engaging in off-labeling marketing campaigns that improperly promoted numerous drugs they manufacture.

All of these cases and many more, helped to push the total recovery from Medicaid fraud since Jan. 1, 2009 to $77 million. This is an all-time record for Medicaid fraud recovery in Missouri. The previous high total was almost $34 million in 2008. We took an aggressive approach in 2009 in investigating and prosecuting Medicaid fraud, and it paid off for the state and those who have legitimate health care needs. Our approach in 2010 will not change, we will work to aggressively find and prosecute Medicaid fraud.

We could not have done this alone, many state and federal agencies, including the Missouri Department of Social Services work diligently with my office’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which has five Assistant Attorneys General, ten investigators, three auditors and a computer analyst, to identify and investigate possible fraud.

Another important player in stopping Medicaid fraud is the public. Many of our successful Medicaid fraud prosecutions are prompted by tips from the public. People can call our Medicaid fraud hotline anonymously to report suspected fraudulent activity. The hotline number is 800-286-3932.

With the current economic times, every dime of taxpayers' money must be used for its intended purpose. This Attorney General’s office will continue to aggressively pursue and prosecute Medicaid fraud, sending the message to any would-be Medicaid cheaters that they will be caught and punished to the full extent of the law.

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