Attorneys general seek to expand search for Medicaid abuse and neglect cases

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Attorneys general from 37 states and the District of Columbia asked Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., Wednesday for a policy change that would allow them to use federal funds to investigate and prosecute a wider range of abuse and neglect cases involving Medicaid beneficiaries or Medicaid-funded services.

The request was sent on the letterhead of the National Association of Attorneys General.

Medicaid Fraud Control Units currently investigate and prosecute state Medicaid provider fraud and resident abuse complaints in Medicaid-funded healthcare facilities, and they have the option to review abuse and neglect complaints involving residents of board and care facilities.

The attorneys general asked that the government broaden existing policy to permit MCFU federals funds to be used to investigate and prosecute abuse and neglect of Medicaid beneficiaries in non-institutional settings, such as homes, and to permit MCFU federal funds be used “to freely screen or review any and all complaints or reports of whatever type, in whatever setting, that may reasonably be expected to identify cases of abuse of neglect of any Medicaid beneficiary.”

“We favor permitting the MFCUs to cast a wide net at the screening stage: Better to err on the side of reviewing complaints or reports that ultimately are determined to involve conduct outside the scope the MFCU may investigate or prosecute than to err through narrow screening criteria that can leave abuse or neglect of Medicaid beneficiaries undetected by the MFCU,” the attorneys general wrote.

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