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Ohio Auditor Misses the Mark: Ohio’s Plan to Reduce Medicaid Fraud Includes Everything BUT a State False Claims Act

The state of Ohio–which, like every other state, is facing a record budget deficit–is searching for ways to cut costs and stretch its budget a little.  Amazingly, in a new report released this week by Mary Taylor (who currently serves as the state’s Auditor), the passage of a state false claims act is not one of the suggestions made to stretch the state’s dollars further and eliminate fraud, waste, and abuse from the program. 

To put things in perspective, Ohio spends over $13 billion each year on the Medicaid program.  This amount represents nearly a quarter of the total state budget.  Assuring that these funds are spent appropriately and that fraud, waste and abuse are identified and addressed is one of Ms. Taylor’s priorities.

You can view Auditor Mary Taylor’s web page, as well as some of some of the blog discussion from Ohio and you will find no mention of a state false claims act.  I suspect the reason is a simple failure to understand the concept of the false claims act.  

As a member of the House of Representatives in 2005, Auditor Taylor worked with the Ohio General Assembly to include legislative language giving the Auditor of State the authority to undertake a performance audit of the Medicaid program, as well as the ability to audit Medicaid providers.  According to her website, this legislation has resulted in a number of policy changes that address efficiencies that can be achieved in the Medicaid program and protect and saved significant taxpayer dollars.

That is all fine and well–however, if Ms. Taylor really wants to save the good people of Ohio some money, she will simply request that a state false claims act that complies with the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 be enacted.  Simply by having such a law in place, the state will receive an additional 10% of all monies recovered–even without taking any further actions.    In other words, there is no need to hire additional prosecutors, or do anything else, in order to start reaping the benefits.

This Cook & Kitts, PLLC        

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