State Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-60th, stood Monday with local elected officials to encourage passage of a package of two bills that fight Medicaid fraud and return the savings to taxpayers with the middle class STAR rebate. The bills have previously been passed by the Senate, but not the Assembly.
Grisanti co-sponsored the first bill, S. 4384D, which would create the Medicaid identification and anti-fraud biometric technology program utilizing the science of measuring human body characteristics such as fingerprinting for authentication purposes. This legislation would require the Department of Health to develop and implement a program using biometric technologies in hospitals, clinics and pharmacies for the purpose of fighting fraud in the Medicaid program by having patients and providers verify their identity prior to payment being made. With strong verification and authentication measures, fraudulent Medicaid payments for services will stop at the point of service rather than the present method of "pay and chase" that has become common.
Grisanti also co-sponsored the companion legislation designed to ensure the savings from the Medicaid identification and anti-fraud biometric technology program be sent back to residents. The bill, S. 7447, reinstates the middle class STAR rebate to lower the amount paid by homeowners on local school property taxes. The rebate program uses three income brackets to disseminate the appropriate amount to owners of property with two subsets dividing upstate and downstate counties. The STAR rebate program was discontinued in the 2009-210 budget even though state aid for schools rose.
"It is extremely important in light of our present fiscal situation that every effort is made to safeguard the integrity of the Medicaid program," Grisanti said. "This Medicaid identification and anti-fraud biometric technology program will not only protect those who are legitimately eligible for Medicaid benefits, but it will also use all modern tools available to stop fraud at the point of service.
"Further, it is essential that Albany return these new-found savings to the residents who pay taxes. The middle class STAR rebate will ensure that money recovered from fraud goes back into people's pockets, not a discretionary fund."
New York will spend more than $54 billion on Medicaid this year, and it is estimated that as much as 10 percent or more than $5 billion is wasted on fraudulent services and claims. With the use of biometric technology that measures and analyzes such human body characteristics as DNA, fingerprints, eye retinas, voice patterns and hand movements, New York could save as much as $5 billion by ensuring proper identification is made at the start and end of the transaction.
"I encourage my colleagues in the Assembly to pass this package of legislation with due haste so we can curb Medicaid fraud and return some real savings to the residents of New York," Grisanti said.