Good Morning Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee.

My name is Marisol Alanis and I’m here representing Harlingen Family Dentistry which has been my employer for the past 18 years. My efforts here are to show my support for the bill 1536, Due Process for all Medicaid Providers.

The way the system is in place now, it does not allow for this. This is today’s scene:

  • Providers are guilty before proven innocent. Payment holds are being placed and yet the provider has not been found of any misconduct or fraud.
  • Staff and Providers are not allowed Legal representation, note taking or recording at the time of questioning but the OIG is allowed to record the interview.

I have personally experienced the wrath and manipulating tactics the OIG uses to intimidate Medicaid providers. I’ve been through 2 different audits. The first for Orthodontics and when the judge ruled in our favor that same week the OIG returned and demanded additional files because they were opening up a second case. The OIG demanded all the documentation to be prepared in a 3 day period. When we asked for more time they would not grants us an extension and suggested we close the practice so that the documents could be produced by the due date and time.

Closing our practice for 3 days, rescheduling 700 patients and having 130 employees without work would not benefit anyone. So in efforts to get this done, selected staff including myself worked for 2 consecutive days till 2:00 a.m. and the 3rd day till 11:00 p.m. to satisfy their request. The OIG would check in on the progress of their request and each time they would add more to the list of things they needed that was not initially on the written request.

During this audit the OIG requested to speak to all the Doctors and selected staff which created a big upset and disturbance. The staff that was interviewed including me were not very happy. We felt like we had no rights; we couldn’t have legal representation, we couldn’t record the interview and some were told they couldn’t take notes.

Another upset was due to the line of questioning. We were being asked about our management philosophy, our office rules and how did we handle staff corrections. This has nothing to do with Medicaid. A few weeks later again for the 3rd time the OIG came in demanding information for non-medicaid patients. This was not released. We have a duty to our patients to protect their personal information.

Still to this day we have yet to hear from the OIG and the outcome of the second audit. They gave us a time frame of 8 weeks and here we are 13 weeks later and no decision. The OIG’s actions have crippled our office and have created instability for our staff. Will 130 staff have a job tomorrow…

I tell you my story because I’ve see this first hand. My speaking out today is not to stop from finding justice in the guilty and stop abuse but to help the innocent and avoid having all Medicaid providers be painted with the same brush. I’m for bill 1536- Due Process.

Thank You for your time and consideration.