Texas Tribune — Proposed Medicaid Fraud Rules Worry Providers
The state’s Health and Human Services Commission is seeking formal approval for new Medicaid fraud rules that doctors allege deny them due process and expand investigators’ power to halt their funding.
For months, HHSC’s Office of the Inspector General has been increasingly relying on a federal rule — part of President Obama’s health care plan — that allows the agency to freeze financing to any health provider accused of overbilling Medicaid. That means they can halt the flow of funding before they complete a full-fledged investigation, and often, providers say, before doctors are given any chance to defend themselves.
HSC says the new state rules — a rewrite of the existing statute — give investigators the tools to stop the bleeding before bad actors run off with the state’s money. They say fraud investigations aren’t opened without good reason, and the idea that there’s no due process is preposterous.
The agency says the new rules, which must be approved by the executive commissioner, are necessary to bring the state in line with federal health reform and measures passed in the last legislative session. It is “mostly a clean-up of the existing rules,” agency spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman said.
But attorneys for health care providers, who are still trying to parse the rewritten rules, say the language the state is preparing to codify appears to put even more power into investigators’ hands than what they’ve already received from the federal government.
See on www.texastribune.org
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