Clay’s Weekly Medicaid RoundUp: Week of November 5th, 2018

Soundtrack for today’s RoundUp pessimist readers-


For optimist readers-


VOTERS DECIDED TO GROW MEDICAID IN 3 STATES; SHOT IT DOWN IN 1- Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah all decided to “cover” more people with Medicaid (and to spend more money from the pockets of the people who voted against it (40% against in Idaho, 47% against in Nebraska, and 46% against in Utah). But hey – screw those guys! We voted yes, and now they have to pay for it. Losers buy!. 

IN RELATED NEWS, VA IS SHORT $460M IN ITS MEDICAID BUDGET- Sort of related, anyway. These are “unforeseen” costs that occurred before the expansion decision. I wonder if they would have disclosed these costs before the expansion decision, would that have impacted the expansion decision? Current theories as to the overage are higher costs under managed care than expected, and higher than expected CHIP enrollment. Most legislators in the state are already messaging that school spending in next year’s budget will have to go down to pay for this whoopsie.


MORE CONSOLIDATION IN THE IL MCO MARKET- Harmony and Meridian health plans are merging after the recent WellCare acquisition of Meridian for $2.5B. Harmony was struggling and was dinged back in May for having insufficient network.


CMS WORKING ON NEW RULE FOR STATE FLEXIBILITY ON NEMT- According to a notice of proposed rulemaking last week, CMS is cooking up a new reg that will give states some relief on how much they have to spend on non-medical transportation for Medicaid bennies (states have been asking for this for years, with AZ being the most current example I am aware of).


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. Get out your wallets taxpayers – we have some Medicaid fraud to pay for! ImmediaDent (a dental provider with a weird name) and Samson Dental Partners of KS have settled false claims allegations with three states (KY, IN and OH- I guess they didn’t want to fraudulate in their own state?) for $5M. What did they do? Billed simple extractions as surgical procedures, billed scale and root planings that never happened and put dental employees on volume-based commission plans. Sophia Eggleston of Detroit was convicted this week for her role in an $1M home health fraud scheme hitting the Medicare coffers. Travis Moriarity of Pittsurgh (and 3 of his buddies) were charged with defrauding PA Medicaid out of $87M this week. How did they rack up such a bigly fraud, you ask? With bogus claims for personal care services, care coordination and NEMT. If you want to hit the Medicaid fraud big leagues, you’ve got to diversify, people! Bernard Oppong of Blacklick, OH was charged with a pharmacy scheme. Oppong would partner with a pharmacy to send special medical crème to Medicaid members without ever examining them. So far all I have is that this is a “multi-million dollar” fraud… Pretty big whopper of a hospice fraud concluded this week when Patricia Armstrong of Coppell, TX plead guilty to her role in the $60M scam. Armstrong and others stole from Medicare and Medicaid by signing up bennies who didn’t need hospice and then billing for it. They forged terminal-illness certifications. Celestine “Tony” Okwilagwe, et al of Garland, TX were convicted for stealing $3.7M from Medicare and Medicaid using a home health scam. Bonus points- they were already barred from participating in any federal healthcare program. Jennifer Gardner of Summit Township, PA got $104k in member/provider fraud bucks illegally. Let me unpack this one: Ms. Gardner had one of these deals where Medicaid gives you cash to pay your own personal caretaker in your home. But her attendant moved away, she didn’t replace him and kept cashing the checks. Ms. Gardner, you win! You gave us a great illustration of the clear risks of this model! Thank you. Taxpayers, you lost about $159M in this last paragraph.


That’s it for this week. As always, please send me a note with your thoughts to or give me a buzz at 919.727.9231. Get outside (do the first round of leaf-raking) and keep running the race (you know who you are).

FULL, FREE newsletter@ . News that didn’t make it and sources for those that did: twitter @mostlymedicaid .

Want the Curator News Pack for this week’s Roundup? Here you go- Medicaid News Curator Volume 1

Here’s the one for the fraud stuff

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