IG Raymond C. Winter’s Priorities for 2024

IG Raymond C. Winter 

The Office of the Inspector General just published a short interview with Inspector General Raymond C. Winter, who was appointed to the position last year.

The interview is about his 2024 priorities.

IG Winter had previously been a deputy attorney general with the Office of the Attorney General, heading up the Civil Medicaid Fraud division for fifteen years but was given the boot last year in the chaos of that office.

Here is the content of that interview:

What are your priorities for the OIG? 

Our mission is, always has been and will remain, our top priority. Collectively, the dollars spent on the programs we protect comprise around 30% of the overall Texas budget. It is a huge amount of money, and the taxpayers of Texas deserve our full attention to our mission of protecting HHS programs against fraud, waste and abuse. Although we’re protecting taxpayer dollars, we’re talking not just about money. We’re talking about real people. The services that we protect are services desperately needed by millions of people across the state of Texas.

One of my priorities is to increase our effectiveness in deterring unlawful or inappropriate conduct, recovering dollars, and helping to ensure that funds the legislature has dedicated for these purposes are used for those intended purposes — helping Texans.

At the same time that the OIG has single-minded focus on our mission to protect vulnerable Texas and safeguard taxpayer dollars, we must also take care of our employees here at the OIG. We have some of the finest, most dedicated staff that I have seen in over 30 years of state service. The success of our mission depends on the performance of our staff, and our responsibility as leaders of this agency and my duty as Inspector General is to ensure that our staff has the tools and support it needs to accomplish the mission.

Why is compliance so important? 

The system in place is a public-private partnership, and it depends upon all the participants and the players coming to the table in good faith and transparency. There is an obligation on the part of those who wish to participate in the program to know what the rules are and to comply with them. No one is forced to be a Medicaid provider; the people who participate – clinicians, service providers, drug manufacturers, pharmacies, etc. – are all volunteers. It’s very clear under our system of law and rules that when somebody volunteers to engage in a regulated enterprise or regulated undertaking such as this, they have an obligation to know and follow the rules. The reason we have rules is to ensure that dollars are spent properly and people who need services get the services they are entitled to.

At the end of the day, our job at the OIG is to make sure people obey the rules and taxpayer dollars are spent properly so that clients get the services they need. We must be transparent and operate in good faith, and the rules shouldn’t change in the middle of the game; there shouldn’t be a shifting playing field. The rules need to be objectively discernible and attainable, and people need to understand what the rules are.

Do you have any final thoughts for the OIG’s partners? 

Any time anybody needs any information from us, we are going to be happy to provide that information. It is my goal that all interested stakeholders and constituents find our office to be transparent, open and responsive. As I travel around the state and I get to know more people in this agency, I’m finding them to be dedicated professionals who believe in our mission and who are passionate about their work. We stand ready to collaborate with all those involved — clients, providers, MCOs, HHS program staff and other governmental entities — to ensure the public-private partnership works and the people of Texas receive the services they need.


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