Davis Proposes Adding 315 State Employees To Address Medi-Cal Fraud
Gov. Gray Davis (D) is calling for the addition of 578 new employees in the Department of Health Services, including 315 for Medi-Cal fraud enforcement, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reports. The proposal comes after Davis asked other state agencies to cut spending by 10% and to freeze hiring. The Davis administration projects that the state could save $14.3 million in fiscal year 2003-2004, which begins July 1, by investing $10.7 million in the new Medi-Cal fraud prevention hires. However, Davis and the Legislature predicted similar savings last year, when 40 fraud enforcement employees were added to DHS; savings last year were $21.5 million less than the administration's estimate and an additional $100 million less than the Legislature's estimate. DHS Deputy Director for Medical Care Services Stan Rosenstein said that the department met the projected savings in fraud prevention, noting that the $21.5 million gap could be attributed to the budget being passed two months late and to a failure to reduce pharmaceutical costs. DHS has proposed hiring 14 employees at a cost of $342,000 to intensify the state's prescription drug cost-review process, which agency officials say will save an estimated $15.5 million in FY 2003-2004. The Assembly and Senate Conference Committee, which is reviewing the budget, is scheduled to complete deliberations this week, and the Legislature is expected to deliver the budget to Davis by June 30. The Davis administration told the conference committee yesterday that it would consider hiring fewer employees; while the Assembly approved Davis' request for 315 employees, the Senate approved adding 100, at a cost of $3.9 million (Drucker, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, 6/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.