Clay’s Weekly Medicaid RoundUp: Week of October 29th 2018

Soundtrack for today’s RoundUp pessimist readers-

For optimist readers-

 WELCOME, MRS. MAYHEW- After bringing some predictability to the Maine Medicaid budget, Mary Mayhew was tapped to head Medicaid efforts at the federal level earlier this month. Her official title will be CMS Deputy Administrator. Congratulations, Mary!

BADGES? WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ BADGES- If you thought CMS was holding the phone on work requirements while the KY lawsuit sorts out, you were wrong. CMS approved Wisconsin’s request to add a work requirement feature to its Medicaid benefits package. Also important- Wisconsin is a non-expansion state (many work requirements resisters have been holding out hope that CMS won’t approve work requirements in non-expansion states). CMS did not approve the state’s request to add drug testing requirements for members, but they did allow them to ask bennies about risky health behaviors as part of coverage determinations.


NEITHER DOES VIRGINIA- Sources say VA officials plan to submit a work requirements request to CMS by this Friday. Current proposal includes work/volunteer requirements (or job classes) and premiums up to $10/month. Many conservative lawmakers feel the new proposal is too watered down to matter, though.


 POSSIBLY ALSO NEITHER DOES MISSISSIPPI- MS Medicaid officials are chatting it up with CMS now that the public comment period on their work requirements request has ended.


NEBRASKA VOTERS TO DECIDE EXPANSION AS WELL AS WHICH MODIFIERS SHOULD PAY ON 99213 CODES IN THE NEXT VERSION OF THE POLICY MANUAL- Initiative 427 puts Medicaid expansion in the hands of Nebraskans next Tuesday. I’m not concerned they are low-informed voters on the details of Medicaid. Not at all. Nothing to see here. Move along.


 VERMA TROLLS MEDICARE-FOR-ALL MOB; THEY TAKE THE BAIT- Hey if Nebraskans who mostly probably don’t know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid can decide whether to double spending on it, why can’t the twitterverse tell CMS Administrator Verma (in the very polite ways we have come to expect from our leftist friends, of course) she was a terrible, doubleplus ungood person to tweet this in the spirit of Halloween. Remember, questions like “how would we pay for it?” and “does this even make basic logical sense?” don’t matter. All that matters is feelings and a deeply held conviction of a virtuous “resistance.”


OHIO MOVING UP HEP-C TREATMENT- Medicaid bennies in OH no longer have to wait until their Hep-C progresses to get specialty drugs. Starting Jan 1, OH will pay for treatment for any one diagnosed with Hep C. In tech speak, OH used to pay for patients with a Fibrosis Score (F score) of F2. Now the state will pay for all Fscores (starting at F0). Last year the state went from only paying for F4s to F2s.


CA PAID $4B OUT IN “QUESTIONABLE” PAYMENTS- Some pretty egregious examples in a recent state auditor’s report. Biggest findings – state kept paying MCOs and docs for services for 453,000 members who were ineligible for benefits. Worst example- an MCO got paid $383k for care for a member in LA County who had been dead for 4 years.


FINALLY, AFTER 300 YEARS, CMS APPROVES NC WAIVER- Congrats to the team that’s been working on bringing managed care to the state for the past few years!


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. Edwardo Yambo of Lake Grove, NY stole $939k for false lab claims. In addition to billing for claims his lab wasn’t even equipped to run, Mr. Yambo operated the lab without a director (a big no-no). Lanice Stamps and Tia Smiley of New Orleans were convicted this week for their $1.1M fraud in Louisiana using a bogus behavioral health company to steal from Medicaid. Bonus – both fraudsters were also Medicaid bennies. Not sure I have seen double-dipping on the provider and benny fraud side before. Nikkita Chesney of Bridgeport, CT plead guilty this week to using 150 stolen member IDs to file more than $1M in false claims. Celestine “Tony” Okwilagwe lead the way in convictions for a pretty large home health fraud in Dallas this week. Along with 3 of his buddies, Tony got popped for stealing $3.7M from Medicare and Medicaid. Special points on this one since 2 of these dudes had already been excluded from any federal health-care program for prior convictions. Matthew Neiswanger of Baltimore was in court last week and agreed to pay back $2.2M his nursing home stole from Medicaid. How did he do it? Evicting higher cost patients (sicker) and false claims. Joseph Dubin and David Dubin (father and son, a first for the follies) of Austin, TX were convicted of stealing $300k in a kickback scheme involving Medicaid psychology services. Fraudster and Sons paid another fraudster to refer Medicaid kids to their mental health services company. Lanice and Tia you win – I am just entranced by the double provider/member fraud angle! Plus, $1.1M is a pretty good take home. Taxpayers, you lose – about $8.2M in the stories covered in this paragraph. Work harder! Gotta pay for all that fraud somehow…

New content alert- The Medicaid Fraud, Waste and Abuse Curator Volume 1 is out. Includes links to the stories above and a lot more. Check it out here.

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 (clean your chimney, its that time already) and keep running the race (you know who you are).


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Trystero: piyāṇan vahansē lōkayaṭa gaḷavannaṭa putrayā evū sēka.