Friday, February 11, 2011

Taking on fraud & false Medicaid claims; saving AZ $

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson (District 29), has introduced two bills to crack down on false Medicaid claims that would save the state money.

“These bills will hold bad actors accountable and crack down on false Medicaid claims to bring savings to Arizona,” Patterson said. “This is a balanced and responsible solution that will fix a broken system.”

The current Federal False Claims Act was passed in 1986 under former President Ronald Reagan. It encouraged people to come forward with information and assist the government in stopping Medicare fraud, defense contractor fraud and other activities that aim at defrauding federal and state government.

In order to protect the states, Congress added provisions to the act, encouraging states to adopt their own versions of the Federal False Claims Act. It offers states an increase of 10 percentage points in the share of monies recovered in an action brought under the Act.

“Sadly, here in Arizona, Republicans still have yet to be responsible and pass this legislation to crack down on fraud in the state and benefit from the Federal False Claims Act,” said Patterson. “HB 2674 and HB 2629 would change that.”

Patterson’s bills include:
  • HB 2674: Qualifies Arizona for a 10 percent increase on the state side of the Medicaid cost-sharing split. Holds a person who knowingly presents a false Medicaid-related claim or presents a false record or statement for payment to the state liable for their actions. Includes financial penalties of up to $11,000 per violation.
  • HB 2629: Requires the Attorney General and the prosecuting authority to diligently investigate certain acts involving state funds. Ensures that any individual who engages in intentionally fraudulent actions be held liable for three times the amount of damages incurred as well as the cost of court actions.
“Nearly 30 states across the country have a False Claims Act,” Patterson said. “It is time for the state of Arizona to address false claim issues.”

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