Attorney General Morrisey, 38-State coalition seek funding to stop Medicaid abuse and neglect

CHARLESTON, WV (NEWS RELEASE) — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey joined a 38-state coalition urging the federal government to support a strategy aimed at better protecting Medicaid recipients from abuse and neglect.

The broad, bipartisan group of state attorneys general contend expanded use of Medicaid Fraud Control Unit funding would allow for increased detection, investigation and prosecution of abuse and neglect claims against Medicaid beneficiaries. They specifically targeted occurrences within non-institutional settings in their letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

“Reducing Medicaid fraud and ensuring access to quality medical care matters,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Federal statistics suggest 1 in 10 persons, age 65 or older, who live at home will become a victim of abuse. This cannot be tolerated. Our office aims to protect vulnerable residents of our state with support from fellow attorneys general.”

Expanded use of federal funds would fill a void in protection for patients receiving care at home or another non-institutional setting.

The attorneys general insist current restrictions essentially put blinders on each unit’s ability to search for and identify potential cases. That arbitrarily limits the scope of allegations the units can pursue and conflicts with Congress’s broad command to ensure all Medicaid beneficiaries, not just those in institutions, are free from abuse and neglect.

The letter also reinforces Attorney General Morrisey’s call to transfer West Virginia’s unit from the state Department of Health and Human Resources to his office. The letter illustrates that most units, in fact 43 of 50, are housed within a state attorney general’s office.

Such a move would fix deficiencies in West Virginia’s existing unit and yield greater efficiency and effectiveness to the benefit of the taxpayer.

West Virginia signed onto the Connecticut- and Kanas-led letter along with Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Read a copy of the letter at https://bit.ly/2pjQopj.