You might remember the case of Austin dentist, Dr. Rachel Trueblood.
$16 million overpayment demand settled for $39,000
Back in 2014, Dr. Trueblood had been accused of Medicaid fraud, placed on “credible allegations of fraud” payment hold which closed her dental clinics in Austin and was being demanded to pay back to the then-Health and Human Services Commission Office of Inspector General some $16 million. Then miraculously in August 2014, after her lawyers demanded to see the OIG documentation on how the $16 million was calculated, the agency immediately capitulated and offered to settle the entire $16 million for $39,000.
The agency blamed the low ball settlement on the faulty extrapolation methods used by one of their senior actuaries. In fact, they fired him and asked the Texas Rangers to investigate. Texas legislators then asked for a review of all similar cases handled by the actuary.
Full list of affected providers never released
While legislators might have learned all of the cases the actuary worked on, lawyers for Medicaid dentists and other providers did not. According to attorney Jason Ray, even of as last week, OIG never disclosed the full list of parties that would have been affected. The point is now moot for legal purposes as the new Inspector General has settled remaining cases.
Rangers called in to investigate almost two years ago
However, as a matter of public interest and justice, it would be important to know how such blunders in the agency came to be and who really was responsible.
So earlier this year, as more than a year and a half had elapsed since the investigation opened without any word on its outcome, TDMR filed an open records request with the Texas Department of Public Safety for any documents relating to the investigation.
Investigation still open
It turns out the investigation is still said to be ongoing and because it is, DPS is not going to release any records. The agency asked for an opinion from the Attorney General who backed up their decision. This is not unusual when criminal investigations are outstanding.
However, with a total reorganization of the Inspector General’s office having been done over a year ago, one can only wonder why the Ranger’s investigation hasn’t wrapped up and what further investigation they would need to do at this point in time. Probably everyone is gone that was in OIG two years ago.
Also, why has it been so slooooooooooow?
Cynicism on why it is still outstanding
A cynical mind might conclude that the investigation remains open so that incriminating documents relating to the million dollar shakedown of Trueblood within the former OIG won’t get released. Also, that possible culpability at a higher executive level within OIG uncovered during the investigation will not get exposed. It only makes sense since an agency with nothing to hide would readily supply the list of cases tainted by one of its employees.
The truth is probably that we will never know the conniving behind the scenes.
Double standard in place
We have pointed out before that there is a double standard when it comes to the treatment afforded culpable bureaucrats and Medicaid providers. This appears to be more evidence.
The duplicity is disturbing.
For the record, here is the letter TDMR received.DPS-letter