VOICE OF THE LEGISLATIVE MAJORITY

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Zero Tolerance For Fraud

BY LEGISLATOR JAY HOOD, JR.

(D- Haverstraw)

Vice Chair

Rockland County Legislature

unnamedOver a year ago, I began an important discussion on Medicaid and other social services fraud that exists in Rockland. What emerged from the meetings held in the Legislature was a resolve to ensure that social service benefits – which come from your tax dollars – do not go to those who are not entitled to receive them.

Working with my colleagues, we passed a resolution calling on the state and federal government to do more to uncover fraud in the system. Requiring in-person interviews to continue receiving benefits, and utilizing technology to find those abusing the program can not only help end fraud, they can save Rockland taxpayers millions of dollars.

We went a step further to prevent fraud – particularly within the $70 million-a-year Medicaid program in Rockland. The Legislature approved a plan to hire additional personnel for the County Department of Social Services’ Special Investigations Unit to examine suspected instances of Medicaid fraud.

The investigators that were hired uncovered well over a million dollars in fraudulent expenditures in relatively little time. Additionally, working with the Sheriff Louis Falco, over $155,000 in other Medicaid and food stamp benefits were recovered. These benefits would have unlawfully gone to inmates at the Rockland Jail.

Having these investigators is essential to continue our battle against fraud. Their work has already recouped many more times what they are paid in salary.

Fortunately, working with my fellow Legislators, we saved these positions in the 2016 budget, and thankfully, those investigators are hard at work each day uprooting fraud in our communities.

I am hopeful that when the 2017 proposed budget is announced, it will continue to include funding for this vital program. Rockland should not be a safe haven for anyone who would commit fraud with taxpayer money, and I will continue to fight aggressively to put an end to fraud of all kinds.

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