When errors add up to tens of millions of dollars

Posted by By at 9 November, at 15 : 47 PM Print

Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner says  sloppy verification methods at the Departmentof Public Welfare is costing the commonwealth hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

At a news conference, Wagner revealed that audits at all of the state’s county assistance offices found waste to the combined tune of $436 million dollars a year.

“These errors can and should be corrected, which would result in a significant sustainable savings to Pennsylvania taxpayers while ensuring that those entitled to benefits continue to be served,” said Wagner.

Wagner said the DPW is failing, on average 15.5 percent of the time to verify a recipients’ age, disability and family relationship requirements to qualify for Medicaid.

“DPW must stop this money from going out each month to insurance companies for thousands of people who are no longer eligible for the program,” Wagner said. “We can save hundreds of millions of dollars without cutting benefits simply by preventing these improper payments.”

Medicaid Assistance in Pennsylvania is available for low-income children and families as well as individuals with disabilities, the elderly and chronically ill adults. Along with that the department’s 88 statewide offices deliver cash assistance and food stamps.

Among the recommendations: changing the way DPW reviews its cases. Audits were done randomly from more than 595,000 cases in all 67 counties.

Pennsylvania is facing an estimated $5 billion budget deficit starting in 2011.

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