Attorney General Andrew Cuomo Announces County-state Task Force To Fight Medicaid Fraud

MINEOLA, NY (January 16, 2007) -- Attorney General Andrew Cuomo today announced the creation of an unprecedented joint task-force between the State Attorney General's Office and authorities in Nassau County. The primary objective of the task force will be to identify suspected cases of Medicaid fraud for possible prosecution.

The partnership will combine the resources of the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the Nassau County Executive Office, and the Medicaid Fraud Unit of the Nassau County District Attorney's Office to better investigate and prosecute cases. The groups will share technology, intelligence and expert staffing.

"Medicaid fraud is one of the greatest problems facing New York," said Cuomo. "We are establishing a new operating model among counties, district attorneys and the Attorney General's Office, so that the three units of government share the responsibility to fight Medicaid fraud. This joint effort in Nassau will set an example for other regions statewide."

In the past, the Attorney General's Office generally became involved in Medicaid fraud after a county or local agency referred a case of suspected fraudulent activity. With the joint task-force announced today, the Attorney General's Office will provide county-level units with additional resources available to manage the cases, and will take a more proactive role at the start of Medicaid fraud investigations and prosecutions.

"The challenge in the past was how to apply the Attorney General's Office expertise and resources at the local level," Cuomo added. "Getting this matter under control will save taxpayer dollars and protect resources for health care that New York's middle class and low-income families need."

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said, "Since I took office over a year ago, fighting Medicaid fraud has been one of my priorities. I am proud of this alliance seeking to attack this problem costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year."

"Medicaid is one of the largest expenditures in Nassau. At the County we will continue to do whatever we can through our Department of Social Services and our Medicaid Czar, to participate in what we know will be a great model for the entire and will happen under Andrew Cuomo," said Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi.

Last week, Cuomo announced that Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes accepted his request to provide a thorough review of the AG's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Hynes assigned a team of four specialists to assist him and work with experienced prosecutors at the AG's office to conduct the analysis. Hynes will submit a written report to the Attorney General with recommendations on February 15th.

Over 30 years ago, Hynes launched the nation's first statewide Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in New York, which became a model for states around the country. Hynes drafted federal legislation to provide funds for state Medicaid Fraud Control Units, and today 47 states have these units.