News Release from Senator Robert Nichols

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2011
Contact: Alicia Pierce
(512) 463-0103

Creighton and Nichols file bill to crackdown on Medicaid fraud

Austin — Yesterday, Rep. Brandon Creighton (R – Conroe) and Sen. Robert Nichols (R – Jacksonville) filed legislation to prevent and better prosecute Medicaid fraud.

"In a time when the state is trying to make sure every dollar is spent as efficiently as possible, reducing fraud is one of the best ways to make sure Medicaid dollars are going to those who need them and not those stealing from the state," said Creighton.

Nichols also stressed the importance of ending fraud.

"Medicaid fraud is a crime against every Texan who pays into the system," said Nichols. "This bill gives prosecutors tools needed to better pursue violators."

House Bill 1332 and Senate Bill 688 are identical bills that increase the statute of limitations on Medicaid fraud from 3 to 7 years, allow Medicaid fraud to be prosecuted as organized crime, and increase penalties for those convicted.

Creighton and Nichols both stressed the importance of working with the Attorney General's office to craft legislation.

"These bills implement suggestions from the Attorney General's office," said Creighton. "These ideas come directly from those working on Medicaid fraud cases everyday who know exactly what changes in the law will be most helpful."

Nichols pointed out that under Attorney General Greg Abbott, the state has significantly reduced Medicaid fraud.

"Last year, the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit identified $71 million in Medicaid overpayments. By giving the division even better legal avenues to prevent fraud, I believe our state will save even more," said Nichols.

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