This morning, TDMR was notified that Governor Greg Abbott has now signed into law SB 207, the legislation which makes major changes and improvements to the way the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Office of Inspector General will work.
The last half of 2014 and 2015 was a tumultuous period for the agency. It started with hearings before the House Human Services Committee about the agency’s subversion of due process rights supposedly guaranteed Medicaid providers under SB 1803 which was enacted last legislative session.
Then came the scathing report and subsequent hearings of the Sunset Advisory Commission about OIG’s ineffectiveness in uncovering Medicaid waste, fraud and abuse and its destructive treatment of Medicaid providers.
Following shortly afterwards were revelations about former deputy inspector general for enforcement Jack Stick’s preferential treatment of Austin software firm 21CT in getting the company a no-bid contract for Medicaid fraud detection software. This led to Stick’s departure as HHSC chief counsel. Then former inspector general Doug Wilson and his wife were found to be in on the act, giving the company a preferential contract in the Department of Family Services which led to Wilson’s resignation. And it went on and on with investigations from the State Auditor’s office, the Public Integrity Unit and the governor’s own strike force as well as the FBI.
Time to get it right
The agency now under Stuart Bowen has a chance to get it right and find actual medicaid fraud and abuse.
Major federal anti-fraud actions underway
The signing announcement comes on the heels of arrests by the FBI earlier this week in the Rio Grande Valley of two individuals on charges of Medicaid fraud and a major nationwide operation by the Department of Justice that led to 243 individuals from around the country being arrested on charges of defrauding the Medicare system of $712 million through false billing.
This all means that Medicaid providers need to keep their noses clean.