CalPERS Board Approves Proposal for Legislation To Address Medical Pension Fraud
As expected, the CalPERS board on Wednesday "in a swift and unanimous vote" endorsed a legislative measure that would revise the disability pension law for state workers and employees of local governments that are part of the system by granting CalPERS fewer limits on its fraud investigations and penalties, the Sacramento Bee reports (Korber, Sacramento Bee, 12/16).
The legislation would clarify the definition of fraud for medical pensions and establish civil and criminal penalties; permit CalPERS to order employees who are past retirement age to submit to medical exams to determine if they are still disabled; and allow CalPERS investigators to review state employment records to determine whether former workers collecting medical pensions are working in jobs that would be difficult to perform with their injuries. The board will now seek out a lawmaker to introduce the legislation in January (California Healthline, 12/15).
CalPERS board Vice President Rob Feckner said, "We look forward to pushing this forward," adding, "It enhances our ability to detect and prosecute those who are abusing the system. They aren't doing any of us any good -- it's a very high cost to the system and it's not fair to all the hard-working public employees who don't abuse it."
J.J. Jelincic, president of the California State Employees Association, said his group generally supports the CalPERS legislation but added, "The one concern we have is that people who go out on disability retirements do sometimes recover, and in that case they aren't committing fraud. We're concerned that they're mixing up those two ideas" (Sacramento Bee, 12/16).