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Clay’s Weekly Medicaid RoundUp: Week of July 9th 2018

Soundtrack for today’s RoundUp pessimist readers- http://bit.ly/2NcLGkD

For optimist readers-  http://bit.ly/2NdUnLs 

Don’t forget Monday’s Monthly Medicaid News Roundtable show where will cover a lot of these in more depth with the panel. Sign up for free here –

http://www.mostlymedicaid.com/?page_id=3176

 

 Bigger than normal fraud section at end today. Enjoy!

BLUEGRASS STATE MEDICAID REFORM SLOWED DOWN AT THE BENCH- Most of you saw that the KY work requirements plan was stopped by a judge’s gavel last week (an image of king dropping his scepter to note a ruling flashes in my mind). Thank you to all the readers who sent in various analyses and insights. It appears to be a KY-only ruling, in that the judge found CMS did not consider whether this particular request facilitates the “purposes and goals of the Medicaid program.” I invite all readers to read Title XIX of the Social Security Act (which defines Medicaid) and weigh in on what the purposes of the program are. Here’s a link to the full act- https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/ssact/title19/1900.htm

My hot take is that SSA defines Medicaid’s “purpose” as a way to give states cash for health care (for the states that want to pay their part of it). Not the lofty insure the uninsured, etc stuff we have come to ensconce in Medicaid mantras some 50 years later. Do I think the judge actually read SSA to compare the request to the “purposes and goals” of Medicaid? Doubt it.

DID YOU KNOW UNIONS GET A CUT OF MEDICAID HOME HEALTH DOLLARS? I DIDN’T – Talk about graft. Seems Dear Leader O gave unions a tidy little bundle of cash under ACA. Here’s how the scheme works: ACA included a rule that allowed states to divert a portion of home health care workers to mandatory union dues. Usually federal regs don’t let Medicaid provider payments go to anyone but the provider, but O made an exception. How much did unions get from this tiny little vig off the ACA pie, you ask? About $200M each year. Plenty to send back in through campaign contributions, etc. Quick lefties – claim the moral high ground somehow. Tell me how this is anything but slimy politics with “healthcare for the poor” as cover.

NEW TELEHEALTH REPORT OUT- Well 2 reports actually (check the site for links / copies in the next few days). Similar results as last year’s info, I think. Telehealth is now defined in most states, Medicaid has better payment than commercial, still struggling to get services that happen while patient is sitting in their living room covered (besides remote patient monitoring- have to go to a provider office that is part of a hub/spoke model for most consults).

FARRIS’S FANTASTIC FRAUD FOLLIES– And now for everybody’s favorite paragraph. Let’s start the ticker and see who wins this week’s award. Rebecca Norris of Frostburg, MD (sounds chilly) plead guilty to nabbing $850k using her Appalachian Wellness Centers to do video-based therapy but billing it as face-to-face. Chin Kim of Bethel, AK has been charged with stealing Medicaid dollars by taking vouchers bennies are given by the state to cover travel costs (flying in to Bethel to get care, hotels, etc) and then submitting them to Medicaid for payment. That part seems ok per rules- it’s the $4k to $57k increase in one month that put Kim on the MFCU radar for fraudulent billings. Dana Trandahl of Butte, MT is charged with billing $74k in services not provided using her counseling service. Galit Levi of Queens plead guilty to stealing $67k in Medicaid benefits by hiding her annual income of $225k. In a very unusual twist, she paid it all back and got a $1,000 fine. Hope In-Home Care of Newport News, VA has agreed to settle Medicaid fraud allegations by coughing up $3.3M (to emphasize their innocence, of course). Charges included false claims for personal care services, falsifying statements of eligibility for members and for prior authorization and billing for services not provided. James Burkhart of Indianapolis was sentenced this week for his role in the American Senior Communities scheme which stole $10M from Indiana Medicaid using an elaborate vendor kickback model. The scheme facilitated multiple frauds by allowing vendors to send higher bills for their services to nursing homes, which would in turn be reimbursed by Medicaid (basically gaming the cost report if I understand correctly). Mom and daughter duo Julie Longton and Leanda Zupka of Norwich, CT will pay $300k back to Medicaid that they stole using unlicensed therapists in their counseling business. Galit – you win! You paid it all back, which never happens. Taxpayers, you lose. Which happens every week (but you better smile and take it, else you’re a big ole’ meanie!).

 

That’s it for this week. As always, please send me a note with your thoughts to clay@mostlymedicaid.com or give me a buzz at 919.727.9231. Get outside (cut the grass-but bag it if you have weed problems. No need to put the seeds right back on your lawn) and keep running the race (you know who you are).

FULL, FREE newsletter@ mostlymedicaid.com . News that didn’t make it and sources for those that did: twitter @mostlymedicaid . Trystero: Bubālē chōrālā’ī sansāralā’ī bacā’unubhayō.