Wednesday, August 8, 2018

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Sullivan County doubles down on Medicaid transportation fraud

LIBERTY – The Sullivan County Welfare Fraud Task Force is cracking down on fraudulent medical transportation services provided to Medicaid clients.

Sheriff Michael Schiff said his detectives have interviewed suspects who admitted to taking taxpayer-funded Medicaid transportation from Sullivan County to Newburgh to buy drugs.

“The medical transport was designed to get people to doctors for treatment who do not have the ability to get there on their own,” Schiff said. “When somebody uses that and starts using up those dollars just to go for things other than what it is meant for, it is a larceny of the service and it’s an abuse of taxpayer money it is maybe taking dollars away from somebody who needs the service.”

District Attorney James Farrell had a plain and simple message for transportation abusers.

“Medicaid recipients and vendors are on notice that such abuses will be investigated by our fraud team and the offenders prosecuted.”

Medical trips have been used to do grocery shopping, visit friends, attend non-medical meetings, go to liquor stores and even apply for other services at the Department of Family Services.

One Medicaid transportation fraud case of over $1 million was turned over to the state attorney general’s office by the task force several months ago for state prosecution.

County Health and Family Services Commissioner Joseph Todora said this is not just a misuse and abuse of the Medicaid program. “It is a fraudulent activity, and even one medical transportation trip taken for a non-medical reason can result in a felony charge and arrest of the client,” he said.

 


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