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Herring Calls for New Tools to Protect Virginians from Abuse And Neglect

Posted: Updated: May 11, 2017 09:16 AM
Attorney General Mark Herring (FILE IMAGE) Attorney General Mark Herring (FILE IMAGE)

05/10/2017 Release from the Commonwealth of Virginia Office of the Attorney General:

RICHMOND (May 10, 2017) - Attorney General Mark R. Herring has joined a bipartisan group of 38 state attorneys general in calling on the U.S. government to allow state attorneys general to use federal funds to investigate and prosecute a wider range of Medicaid abuse and neglect cases, including those that happen at home. The multistate letter was sent today to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

"My award-winning Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is hard at work protecting seniors and recovering millions of dollars for taxpayers, but it'd operate even better and keep more Virginians safe if the range of cases it could investigate and prosecute were expanded," said Attorney General Mark Herring. "I am proud to join this bipartisan group of fellow attorneys general in standing up for seniors across the country, and I hope the U.S. government heeds our advice."

Currently, Medicaid Fraud Control Units (MFCUs) can only investigate and prosecute Medicaid abuse and neglect cases that occur in connection with Medicaid-funded services like nursing homes. But, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 10 people age 65 and older who live at home will become a victim of abuse. Expanding the range of cases MFCUs are able to investigate and prosecute could protect a greater number of seniors from abuse and neglect.

The letter states that "...the current strict federal limitations on states' ability to use MFCU assets to investigate abuse and neglect are outdated, arbitrarily restrict our ability to protect Medicaid beneficiaries from abuse and neglect as Congress intended, and should be replaced or eliminated" and offers two recommendations:

  • Allow MFCU federal funds to be used to investigate and prosecute abuse and neglect of Medicaid beneficiaries in non-institutional settings (i.e. home health care).
  • Allow use of MFCU federal funds to freely screen or review any and all complaints or reports of whatever type, in whatever setting.

Attorney General Herring's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigates and prosecutes Medicaid provider fraud and resident abuse complaints in Medicaid-funded health care facilities. It has been named best in the country and recovered more than $64 million for Virginia taxpayers.

Joining Herring in sending the letter are attorneys general from Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, 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, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.