Sunday night on this Memorial Day weekend, the Texas House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 207, the legislation that will reform the Health and Human Services Commission Office of Inspector General. The recorded vote was 142-0.
The bill now goes back to the Senate to concur with the bill or conference any changes with the House. Then it goes before Governor Abbott for his signature.
The new bill will make State Office of Administrative Hearing decisions final in payment hold hearings. Currently such decisions go back to the HHSC Appeals division and Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek for final approval.
In the Antoine Dental case last year, Janek and the HHSC court simply reversed the SOAH decision to end Antoine’s payment hold. The SOAH judges had found the dentists innocent of allegations of Medicaid waste, fraud and abuse. The decision was reached by two SOAH judges after a four-day hearing.
The recent precedent-setting SOAH decision that not only ended the payment hold but awarded legal costs back to the Rhoden Group of Corpus Christi because the OIG case against Rhoden was so poor must still follow the same route as Antoine.
If Janek uses his position to again reverse a favorable SOAH decision for a Medicaid dentist, despite the will of the Texas Legislature being clear that SOAH decisions should stand, it will be the surest sign yet that the message of SB 207 and the scathing report of the Sunset Advisory Commission has not yet reached home to Janek and HHSC.