The following was in the latest HHSC newsletter “In Touch.”
HHSC’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) will hire 127 new employees over the next year, two-thirds of whom will be in enforcement as the division looks to speed up fraud investigations.
Included are a new Chief Medical Officer, Ed LeBlanc and a Chief Dental Officer, Linda Altenhoff, positions the Legislature created this year.
The two will review medical records in the 90 to 110 Medicaid fraud cases the OIG investigates each year to see if treatments under question were needed. The OIG had been contracting with doctors and dentists for those reviews.
“Most of the people we contract with are in private practice,” Inspector General Doug Wilson said. “It takes them a while to get to our cases.”
LeBlanc and Altenhoff also will serve as liaisons to the Texas Medical Association and Texas Dental Association working to explain the OIG’s role in stopping and preventing Medicaid fraud.
“They will take on speaking engagements and provide training on the expectations the groups should have,” Wilson said. “My experience in dealing with various associations is that they’re hearing what their membership is telling them. When you get the complaint it always sounds bad until you get the other side of the story.”
OIG will continue to step up its enforcement efforts with the new hires across the board, Wilson said, noting that the new law requires background checks of anyone owning 5 percent or more of a practice accepting Medicaid.
“The Legislature was very supportive of our office,” he said. “That’s going to make it a little easier to do our jobs.”
The new positions include investigators, auditors and support staff, Wilson said. The hiring process is underway.