CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says he is happy the state Senate has advanced legislation that would allow the state to more vigorously combat Medicaid fraud.
Morrisey now is urging the House of Delegates to pass Senate Bill 500, saying approval of the bill would bring West Virginia in line with aggressive Medicaid Fraud Control Units across the nation. It passed the Senate on March 18.
“My office has a proven track record of success in combating disability and consumer fraud,” Morrisey said in a statement. “Our office will focus that same energy in combating Medicaid fraud, the result of which can lead to a more competitive tax code and greater economic development to help West Virginia reach her full potential.”
The measure would move West Virginia’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit from the state Department of Health and Human Resources to the Attorney General’s Office. Nationally, 43 of the 50 such units are operated by state attorneys general.
In September 2013, a performance update compiled by the Legislative Auditor revealed 171 backlogged referrals within West Virginia’s unit, with 23 of those cases dated as far back as five years.
The Attorney General says his office is best positioned to fix those deficiencies and operate the unit with greater efficiency and effectiveness to the benefit of the taxpayer.
Such success will ensure that funds collected through the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit provide medical care for low-income residents and families who legitimately need the assistance.
SB 500 passed first reading March 16 in the Senate. If passed by the full Senate, the legislation will move to the House and then onto Gov. Jim Justice.