Corbett to seek savings from Pa. Medicaid errors
HARRISBURG -- Over the next two months, Republican Gov.-elect Tom Corbett will examine potential savings in the state's Medicaid program identified in an audit by Democratic Auditor General Jack Wagner, a Corbett spokesman said Tuesday.
"One thing he's consistently said is, 'We can find savings in the current budget,' " said Kevin Harley, Corbett's campaign press secretary. "And one of the key areas to look at is the Department of Public Welfare."
Corbett takes office Jan. 18.
With the state facing a deficit of as much as $5 billion next year, Wagner touted the audit his office conducted more than a year ago, because of new figures he obtained. With final numbers from county assistance offices, Wagner said the error rate in Medicaid is 15.5 percent. He previously pegged it at 14 percent.
Even a 10 percent correction would yield $436 million for the 2011-budget and $1.9 billion over four years, Wagner said.
The errors essentially are overpayments to managed care companies after people leave the Medicaid program, Wagner said.
"(The Welfare Department) must stop this money from going out to insurance companies for thousands of people who are no longer eligible for this program," Wagner said. "We can save hundreds of millions of dollars without cutting benefits, simply by preventing improper payments."
Mike Race, spokesman for the Welfare Department, said it has implemented some of Wagner's recommendations, including changes to tighten verification procedures.
And there were errors in Wagner's audit of the error rate, Race said.
The agency "found cases where the AG audits findings of 'errors' were, in themselves, erroneous," Race said. "In about one in 10 of the cases his office cited last year as having errors, we found the AG had mistakenly interpreted one or more Medical Assistance eligibility criteria."
An estimated 2.1 million elderly and low-income Pennsylvanians rely on Medicaid for health insurance.
"It is a vital program, and it is also a poorly run program because of DPW's steadfast refusal to manage it properly," Wagner said.
Harley said Corbett would "take a look at some other audits collecting dust in this administration, to see where we can save money."
Race claimed Wagner "seems to incorrectly equate a 10 percent error rate with a 10 percent cost reduction, ignoring the fact some of the supposed errors would generate no savings if corrected."
For instance, Race said, some of the errors he cited in past audits involved applicants for Medical Assistance being assigned to an incorrect category of care. Such clerical errors, once corrected, don't generate any savings, Race added.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kane received sensitive emails on personal account
- Democrats stand firm, deny GOP the margin needed in Pa. budget battle
- Pa. to kick off online registration
- Pennsylvania’s new online voter registration site goes live
- Lawyers tour Penn State fraternity house for evidence
- Pa. House Republicans plan override votes despite constitutionality questions
- Judge holds Pa. AG Kane for trial on 1 felony, 7 misdemeanors
- Pa. Gov. Wolf: Big changes needed in troubled school district