Deuell Examines Cost of Medicaid Fraud
- Senate Finance Committee Holds Hearing in Austin -
- On Wednesday, State Sen. Bob Deuell (R-Greenville) and other members of the Senate Finance Committee heard testimony that Medicaid fraud in Texas is "running rampant."
According to a 1999 report from the Attorney General's office, some 17% of Medicaid claims are fraudulent. Texas budgets about $36 billion biannualy for Medicaid services. Committee members expressed concern that fraudulent claims are costing the state billions each year.
Deuell said the high level of fraudulent claims are unacceptable, and he is committed to fighting abuse in the system and making sure tax dollars are being used wisely.
"Medicaid fraud is damaging on two levels," Deuell said. "First of all, it is simply stealing our families' hard-earned tax dollars. And secondly, it may prevent those truly in need of service from receiving timely treatment."
The committee also heard testimony from the Inspector General of the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), Brian Flood, who said the state has already taken measures to reduce Medicaid fraud. Flood replied that he anticipates that the Inspector General's office will recover about $500 million this year from fraudulent claims.
Despite their success, Flood said that his agency is undermanned and underequipped and is already considering outsourcing or hiring temporary workers.
Deuell said he wants to work to ensure the Inspector General has all the resources needed to fight Medicaid fraud.
"The Inspector General has done an admirable job," Deuell said. "But I want to work to ensure the agency has more independence so that fraud can be fought more pro-actively and aggressively."
Senator Deuell at the 01/18/2006 Senate Finance Committee Hearing