By Ferdous Al-Faruque - 08/22/14 11:39 AM EDT
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Cali.) is demanding that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recover billions in improper Medicaid payments from the state of New York.
Issa and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the committee’s regulatory subcommittee, wrote to the CMS Thursday urging it to investigate overpayments to the Empire State over the past few decades and recoup as much as possible.
The lawmakers are concerned former lobbyists with close ties to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) might be influencing the state to put to improper use $8 billion meant for restructuring its Medicaid program.
They are concerned the state is misusing the funds to bail out hospitals in Brooklyn.
“We are concerned that the State has decided to put former health care lobbyists with current conflicts in a decision-making position with regard to these funds,” wrote the lawmakers. They seek a response by Sept. 5.
The Republicans also point to previous investigations by the House Oversight Committee that found developmental centers were overpaid $15 billion over the past two decades.
While Issa and Jordan commend CMS for recently stating it would not pay up $1.26 billion in overpayments that New York was charged by developmental centers between 2010 and 2011, they say the agency needs to go further.
“We continue to urge CMS to recover as much as possible of the $15 billion in past overpayments,” they said. “The slush fund that New York was able to generate through excessive rates is patently unfair to taxpayers and Medicaid patients throughout the rest of the country.”
The letter is far from the first time Issa has criticized New York’s handling of CMS funds.
Recently he demanded the agency recoup $61 million from the state after a Health and Human Services report concluded New York was wrongfully reimbursed for room and board costs at state-run facilities by CMS between 2009 and 2011.