New Texas bills target Medicaid fraud, abuse

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by JESSICA VESS / KVUE News & Photojournalist KENNETH NULL

Bio | Email | Follow: @JessicaV_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 15 at 6:31 PM

AUSTIN -- Efforts are underway at the State Capitol to reform Medicaid.

Lawmakers unveiled two new bills Wednesday morning, targeting fraud and abuse in the Medicaid system. There's already some strong state support.

Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst is behind them. He stood alongside State Senator Jane Nelson as they released details of Senate Bills Seven and Eight.

Nelson authored the bills. She's targeting fraud because fraud in the system is costing the state billions of dollars. Nelson says the Office of Inspector General identified more than $6 billion in losses from 2004 to 2011.

“When you defraud the system, you are stealing from the taxpayers, from the children, from the poor, the elderly and Texans with disabilty,” explained Senator Nelson, (R) Flower Mound. “It is a crime against our most vulnerable citizens.”

Senate Bill Eight would give the office authority to investigate Medicaid fraud. It also tracks providers who have been found liable of fraud in the past and bars them from the program.

Senator Nelson is also looking to boost the reach of Medicaid in the state. Senate Bill Seven is designed to help the system grow in particular with long term care. That includes, in part, care for Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

While Nelson has secured the support of Lt. Governor Dewhurst on these two new bills, the fight now reaches out to the rest of the lawmakers. Hers are just two of dozens filed this session, all targeting healthcare in the state. 

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