Written by Senator Charles Fuschillo Friday, 06 April 2012 00:00
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.
Thursday, 20 June 2013 00:00
The Women’s Club of Farmingdale had their last meeting of the club year on June 6 at Allen Park. The club celebrated with an “All American Picnic” arranged by Barbara Hoerner and her committee, Ann Lomonte, Lynn Connolly, Joan Vallarella, Valarie Thieke, Cheryl Parisi, Rosemary Trudden, Ingrid Hernandez and Loda Romanelli. The picnic was catered with delicious desserts made by the committee.
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 00:00
After faithfully serving the Farmingdale school district for 13 years as a member of the Board of Education, Trustee Tina Diamond is calling it a day.
At the recent public meeting on June 5, Board President Shari Bardash-Eivers gave a heartfelt farewell speech in honor of Diamond’s years of tireless service to the students of Farmingdale.
Thursday, 20 June 2013 00:00The Farmingdale Shamrocks U-14 girls soccer team took first place in Maps Tournament held in New Jersey on Memorial Day weekend. The Shamrocks went undefeated, winning three games and tying one to win their bracket. They only allowed two goals the entire weekend and got scoring from a variety of players. The Shamrocks also took first place in league play this spring in the Eastern New York league.
Thursday, 20 June 2013 00:00
Councilman Anthony Macagnone attended Farmingdale Soccer Club’s annual Soccer Day at Ellsworth W. Allen Park. Each year at this event, the Farmingdale Soccer Club awards scholarships to participants who have represented the community well by working hard and displaying a commitment to teamwork.