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From the desk of Senator Charles Fuschillo: April 4, 2012

Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) has announced that legislation he sponsors to save taxpayer dollars through increased prosecution of Medicaid fraud has been passed by the Senate.

The legislation (S594) would allow the state’s Office of Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) to refer Medicaid fraud cases to local district attorneys for prosecution.

“Billions of taxpayer dollars are being stolen every year through Medicaid fraud.  Law enforcement needs every possible tool to recover those funds and prosecute the criminals who steal them. Allowing suspected Medicaid fraud cases to be referred to local district attorneys would lead to more prosecutions, greater enforcement, and savings for taxpayers.  The Assembly should join the Senate in approving this legislation,” said Senator Fuschillo.

Under current law, county Departments of Social Services (DSS) must refer cases of suspected Medicaid fraud to the OMIG. Cases are then prosecuted by the State Attorney General’s office. Local district attorneys, who already work in conjunction with their county’s DSS and are often located only a short distance away, cannot receive referrals from OMIG to prosecute Medicaid fraud in their own county.

As an example, Nassau County DSS is authorized by OMIG to investigate cases of Medicaid provider fraud. DSS must turn over its findings to OMIG in Albany. OMIG then refers the case to Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for prosecution. The unit, which covers Nassau County, is located in Hauppauge, in Suffolk County, nearly 40 minutes away. OMIG is prohibited from referring suspected Medicaid fraud cases to the Nassau County District Attorney’s office, which is located just three miles from DSS.

Under Senator Fuschillo’s legislation, OMIG could refer cases of suspected Medicaid fraud to local district attorneys for prosecution. This would create an additional enforcement tool that would help increase the number of Medicaid fraud prosecutions, saving money for both the state and individual counties.  It would also free up resources at the Attorney General’s office, which could be used to prosecute additional crimes.

Medicaid is one of the state’s largest expenditures. At over $52.8 billion in the current fiscal year, Medicaid spending accounts for one-third of the entire state budget. A report issued by the Senate Republican Task Force on Medicaid Fraud in 2010 stated that Medicaid fraud accounts for between 3 and 10 percent of all Medicaid expenses, meaning that Medicaid fraud could be costing state taxpayers as much as $5 billion each year.

“Medicaid fraud victimizes every New Yorker, and this legislation will give district attorneys better tools to protect taxpayers and bring these scam artists to justice,” said Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice. “Medicaid helps the most vulnerable members of our communities receive access to essential healthcare services and I am proud to stand with Senator Fuschillo to protect this critical program from abuse.”

The legislation has been sent to the Assembly.

News

More than 2,000 Long Islanders enjoyed the festivities at Captree State Park as Assemblyman Joseph Saladino hosted the ninth annual Marine and Outdoor Recreation Expo on Sept. 15.

Attendees learned about sustainable sources of energy as well as ways to protect the planet, especially the island’s marine environment. There were demonstrations in camping, boating, water safety, renewable energy, wildlife and environmental education, fly fishing, arts and crafts, face painting, clowns, touch tanks, ballon animals and plenty of rock and roll.

The founders of the popular Facebook group “Massapequa Moms,” a ‘virtual living room with 6,700 people,’ are leveraging their social media power to create a new discount loyalty card good all over Long Island—including, they hope, in Farmingdale.

With a hugely popular Facebook community, co-founders Dawn Boyle Kostakis and Stephanie Hartman wanted to “figure out a way that we could help the consumer and the business owner at the same time; keeping commerce going, keeping it all local and having the people get a little bang for their buck,” said Kostakis. They wanted to serve more than just Massapequa, too, and the Long Island Loyalty card was born.


Sports

Farmingdale squeaks by Massapequa

The rivalry between the Farmingdale Dalers and the Massapequa Chiefs is a big one. So big that the school districts and the Nassau County Police Department had to take extra precautions to maintain security. Not everyone who wanted to see this game at Masspequa High School were allowed access to the game. In the past, there was some unruly behavior. So, if you were from Farmingdale you parked on the right side of the school and from Massapequa you were on the left. The stands on both side were full and hundreds standing along the fence to watch this game.

The Chiefs would score first in the first quarter with a 9-yard run by Paul Dilena for a touchdown. The Dalers had some problems moving the ball down field until Daler Danny Mckeon intercepted a pass and ran it back into the Chiefs side of the field. This would set up a 6-yard run for a touchdown for Michael Outing who had 19 carries for 84 yards. With the score tied 7-7, Zach Kolodny kicked a 22-yard field goal to put the Dalers up 10-7 shortly before  halftime and the heavy rain that followed.

Town sports shifts to hockey

It’s almost time to hit the ice again.

The Town of Oyster Bay Youth Ice Hockey Program will hold its registration on Monday, Oct. 6 and Wednesday, Oct. 8, from 6 to 9 p.m. on both nights. Registration takes place at the Town of Oyster Bay Ice Skating Center in Bethpage.

“The Youth Ice Hockey Program provides youngsters, ages three to 13, with the opportunity to hone their skating and hockey skills under the guidance of ice hockey coaches,” Councilman Joe Pinto stated. “The highly regarded program has earned it recognition by the NHL, which has partnered with the Town to promote hockey programming and youth enrichment through its ‘Hockey is For Everyone’ initiative.”


Calendar

Junior Varsity Football At Baldwin High School

Saturday, September 27

Girls Varsity Tennis At Malverne High School

Tuesday, September 30

Boys Varsity Volleyball Versus Massapequa High School

Wednesday, October 1



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