MEDI-CAL FRAUD: Davis Vows to Clean Up Insurance Program
New evidence reveals that Medi-Cal fraud is "more widespread than originally thought," with 70% of medical supply monies paid out to criminal operators, Gov. Gray Davis (D) said Thursday. Vowing to "clean up the program," Davis revealed that the Medi-Cal dental services department also has been the target of fraud. "There are too many people who are willing to cut corners and rip off taxpayers," he stated, declaring, "For too many years, the state looked the other way. We're not going to do that anymore. ... That money could be used for good purposes, rather than going to the people who are just into fraud." Davis announced he will ask the state Legislature in January to approve funding for 56 new fraud investigators, in addition to the recently authorized monies for 41 new fraud auditors. He also plans to urge the Legislature to pass measures similar to federal laws that allow state authorities to move more quickly and easily against fraudulent operators. "California has to step up to the plate. Legislators have to be bold and enact stronger laws to crack down on Medi-Cal fraud," he said. Thus far, the FBI investigators have filed Medi-Cal fraud charges against 75 people, resulting in 36 guilty pleas. Currently, the federal agency is investigating about 300 other cases. Davis concluded, "This is a rip-off that should not have [happened], and it's not going to occur again on my watch" (Ellis, Los Angeles Times, 12/10).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.