South Dakota attorney general, Marty Jackley, joined with 48 other states attorneys general in a letter to Congress asking to ease federal restrictions that limit states’ ability to investigate and prosecute the abuse and neglect of Medicaid beneficiaries.
The letter, addressed to U.S. Representatives Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) supports legislation, H.R. 3891. The resolution would expand the authority of Medicaid Fraud Control Units (MFCU) to detect, investigate and prosecute Medicaid patient abuse in non-institutional settings.
Under current law MFCUs may investigate and prosecute patient abuse and neglect only if it occurs in a health care facility or, in some circumstances, in a board and care facility. If enacted, the legislation would broaden the authority of the MFCUs to screen complaints or reports alleging potential abuse or neglect.
The letter also stressed to the lawmakers the importance of expanding this authority in light of the national opioid epidemic. The bill would, for example, give states the authority to investigate and prosecute cases of unlawful opioid distribution to Medicaid beneficiaries, which under current law they may only do if the case occurred within a health care facility.
In addition to South Dakota, the list of attorneys general who signed the letter includes: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.