Audit uncovers rampant fraud in fed program

A federal audit of one part of the Medicaid system has uncovered hundreds of millions of dollars in suspected fraud, including payments to caregivers to provide home-care services to the disabled even when they are hospitalized or in nursing homes.

“It would seem inconceivable – even for today’s bloated government – if it wasn’t laid out in a report … by the offending agency’s inspector general,” noted Judicial Watch, which reported on the systemic failure.

Judicial Watch said the issue centers on personal care services provided by the federal and state-funded health insurance Medicaid, which have been provided to the disabled since the Supreme Court ruled in the 1990s that such care is a civil right.

“The idea is to allow the sick, disabled and those with chronic or temporary conditions [to] stay home and, in turn, avoid sticking Uncle Sam with a hefty hospitalization bill,” Judicial Watch said.

“Instead, Medicaid’s personal care services program is rife with corruption that was first exposed more than five years ago and continues to be documented annually by the agency’s watchdog. The budget has ballooned to more than $12 billion a year, just to send what amounts to a nanny to provide supportive ‘nonmedical services’ like meal preparation, housework, help with bathing and getting dressed, transportation and even money management.”

The IG report on the troubling loss of federal taxpayer dollars said Obamacare provisions that already have kicked in have contributed to the increasing number of dollars in the program.

“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 removed barriers to providing home and community-based services by allowing additional state plan amendment options, increasing states’ timeframes to elect and renew PCS as a care option, and streamlining processes for accessing home and community-based services,” the report said. “The ACA also provided additional funding for programs supporting home care goals, such as the Money Follows the Person demonstration and the Community First Choice Option programs.”

Read more here.