Schwarzenegger Order Bans State Health Programs From Providing Erectile Dysfunction Drugs to Sex Offenders
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Thursday ordered state health officials not to provide erectile dysfunction drugs such as Viagra to known sex offenders who are Medi-Cal beneficiaries, the Sacramento Bee reports. The order prohibits Medi-Cal from reimbursing hospitals and physicians who dispense ED drugs to convicted sex offenders (Delsohn, Sacramento Bee, 5/27).
Schwarzenegger's order follows a letter from Center for Medicaid and State Operations officials on Tuesday warning states that providing ED drugs to sex offenders could "constitute fraud, abuse or inappropriate use of Medicaid funds." In addition, the letter said each state should review its procedures for covering such drugs, warning that "failure to perform such a review and implement appropriate controls may result in sanctions" (California Healthline, 5/25).
The warning was prompted by a recent audit by New York state Comptroller Alan Hevesi that found 198 sex offenders in New York had received Viagra through Medicaid from January 2000 to March 2005 (Salladay, Los Angeles Times, 5/27).
About 5,800 Medi-Cal beneficiaries currently receive ED drugs, according to Health and Human Services Agency spokesperson Nicole Kasabian Evans (Sacramento Bee, 5/27).
It is unknown how many Medi-Cal beneficiaries are sex offenders or if sex offenders have received ED drugs through Medi-Cal. Current law prohibits officials from comparing the state's list of registered sex offenders with the Medi-Cal database to see if any sex offenders are using the drugs.
The California prison health care system does not provide ED drugs to inmates, a spokesperson said (Los Angeles Times, 5/27).
HHSA Secretary Kim Belshe said the Schwarzenegger administration plans to propose legislation or other measures to allow health officials to access sex offender registries (Sacramento Bee, 5/27).