News Release from Senator Robert Nichols

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2007
Contact: Alicia Phillips
(512) 463-0103

Bill to help crackdown on Medicaid fraud signed into law
Delisi/Nichols bill approved by Perry

AUSTIN -- On Monday, Gov. Rick Perry signed House Bill 889, which is authored by Rep. Dianne White Delisi (R-Temple) and sponsored by Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) to help improve enforcement against Medicaid fraud.

"House Bill 889 will protect Texas taxpayers by enabling the Texas Attorney General to use civil enforcement powers to combat Medicaid fraud resulting from unlawful kickbacks," said Delisi. "Not only will this protect the taxpayer, it will be of benefit to our seniors and disabled who participate in the Medicaid system."

The bill, requested by the Attorney General's office, permits a special team, known as the Civil Medicaid Fraud (CMF) Section, to more effectively pursue and prosecute cases involving Medicaid kickbacks.

"I was glad to sponsor such common sense legislation," said Nichols. "By making sure the Attorney General's office has the authorization to pursue Medicaid fraud cases effectively, we can ultimately reduce abuse of the system."

Since its inception in 1999, the CMF Section has recovered approximately $211 million from cases including false billing, false cost reporting and overbilling. The amendment to this statute clarifies the authority of CMF to pursue kickbacks like other Medicaid fraud cases.

"Attorney General Greg Abbot has made reducing Medicaid abuse a priority," said Nichols. "I applaud his office's request for legislation allowing the agency to more effectively stop kickbacks."

The act will take effect on September 1, 2007.

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