TOPEKA – (September 4, 2018) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt will appear before a Congressional subcommittee tomorrow to advocate for legislation that would expand states’ ability to combat the abuse and neglect of Medicaid beneficiaries in home health-care and other non-institutional settings.
Schmidt will appear as a witness before the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health, in support of H.R. 3891, a bill that would expand the authority of state Medicaid Fraud Control Units (MFCUs) to allow them to investigate cases of patient abuse or neglect that occur in non-institutional settings.
The subcommittee will conduct a hearing on the bill Wednesday, Sept. 5, at 10 a.m. EDT, in the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2123. The hearing will be webcast on the committee’s website at http://energycommerce.house.gov/.
The legislation was introduced last year after a group of 38 attorneys general, led by Schmidt and Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen, wrote to then-U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price in May 2017, asking for changes in federal regulation to give the states this expanded authority. However, the Department concluded that the expanded authority would require a change in federal law that could not be done through the regulatory process. The bipartisan bill, introduced by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), was in direct response to the attorneys general’s letter and subsequent response from the Department. A bipartisan group of 49 state attorneys general, led by Schmidt, Jepsen (D-Conn.), Mike Hunter (R-Okla.), and T.J. Donovan (D-Vt.), then wrote to the representatives earlier this year expressing support for the bill.
If enacted, the legislation would allow state MFCUs, most of which are housed within state attorneys general’s offices, to investigate and prosecute abuse and neglect of Medicaid beneficiaries in non-institutional settings and broaden their authority to screen complaints or reports alleging potential abuse or neglect. Under current law, MFCUs may investigate and prosecute patient abuse and neglect only if it occurs in a health care facility or, in some circumstances, in a board and care facility. That means other cases of abuse and neglect of Medicaid patients outside of facilities – such as in a home health care setting – fall outside the unit’s authority.
A copy of the bill is available at http://bit.ly/2ooAU0g.