As Alabama lawmakers contend with an $85 million Medicaid deficit, two bills awaiting Senate approval could give prosecutors greater authority to prevent and deter fraud, according to an editorial written by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange on AL.com.
Pointing to the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit's (MFCU) 17-1 return on investment over the past five years, Strange urged state senators to pass a bill that would increase the statute of limitations period for fraud cases from three years to six years, giving prosecutors more time investigate complicated schemes. Across the country, MFCU fraud recoveries were down last year, and a previous review of Alabama's program revealed ineffective policies and processes.
Strange also advocated for a new state False Claims Act, which would incentivize whistleblowers to report improper billing and include "substantial fines and penalties" to those convicted of fraud. Other states, like Washington, have pushed for similar legislation.
"While these two measures alone will not solve all of Alabama Medicaid's woes, they would go a long way toward ensuring that every dime budgeted for Medicaid is spent for much needed services and not to line the pockets of unscrupulous providers," Strange wrote.
Earlier this year, Alabama elected to shift Medicaid managed care plans to from larger, for-profit insurers to providers.
To learn more:
- read the AL.com editorial
Alabama shifts Medicaid to managed care plans run by providers
Last year's MFCU recoveries are woefully low, and that's a problem
Washington auditors recommend reauthorizing state False Claims Act law
Alabama's Medicaid fraud efforts come up short