Taylor Announces $35 Million in Savings to Ohio’s Medicaid Program

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Columbus -

Highlighting her commitment to protecting Ohio taxpayer dollars, Auditor of State Mary Taylor announced that Ohio is expected to save more than $35 million over three years by participating in a national program involving Ohio’s Medicaid program.  This is just one of more than 100 recommendations made by the Medicaid Performance Audit which was released by the Auditor of State’s office in December 2006.  If implemented, all of the recommendations could save more than $400 million per year. 

Auditor Taylor worked very closely with the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate to include the provision in House Bill 119 (Operating Budget) that required the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to submit a report on the costs and potential savings associated with participation in the Public Assistance Reporting Information System (PARIS).  The report reveals that the state could save more than $35 million in state and federal funds by enrolling in the PARIS program. 

The PARIS program is a computer system that matches social security numbers with various federal income and state agency public assistance databases.  Matching is done to identify public assistance recipients who have not reported income accurately or are receiving concurrent benefits from multiple states.

“This is a great victory for the citizens of Ohio,” Taylor said.  “Protecting and saving Ohio taxpayer dollars – including Medicaid funds – is one of my top priorities as Auditor.  I’m pleased that we will soon see results from the Medicaid Performance Audit and that Ohio will be saving millions of taxpayer dollars each year by following just one of the recommendations.  I’m also pleased to have worked with members of the General Assembly to help improve and reform Ohio’s Medicaid program and look forward to continuing my focus in this area.” 

Auditor Taylor is planning to hold roundtable discussions in Canton on September 18 and in Cincinnati on September 25 to focus on the recommendations made by the Medicaid Performance Audit and to receive input and feedback from Medicaid service providers, interested parties and advocates.  Taylor’s first roundtable in Columbus last month was a success with more than 50 people attending. Participants included representatives from hospitals, nursing homes, local health agencies, health plans and state government.   

Ohio spends more than $13 billion per year on Medicaid.  In 2005, as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, Taylor introduced a bill granting the State Auditor the authority to conduct a one-time performance audit on Ohio’s Medicaid program. 

Other recommendations from the Medicaid Performance Audit that were enacted as part of the state budget include:

• Reducing application and administrative duplication by allowing the Rehabilitation Services Commission to determine disability determinations. Currently, ODJFS is responsible for determining Medicaid disability recipients. By streamlining this process, the state could save $2 million annually.

• Implementing a program that would give employers the ability to use Medicaid funds to purchase employer sponsored group health insurance on behalf of Medicaid eligible individuals. This recommendation also involves putting into place a Medicaid buy-in program or a program that allows working individuals with disabilities to buy into the Medicaid program. Both programs could amount to $10 million in annual savings.

• Tracking and monitoring Medicaid provider background and fingerprint checks. This will ensure that all Medicaid providers obtain both state and federal level checks and that people receiving Medicaid services are in safe hands.

• Requiring Medicaid providers to reenroll at least once every three years to eliminate fraud associated with inactive providers. This provision will ensure that non-active providers are taken off the list, reducing the likelihood of billing fraud.

• Closing loopholes associated with the Medicaid Estate Recovery program. This ensures that spouses of deceased Medicaid recipients will keep their homes and other important possessions until after their death. Once those spouses have passed away, this legislation requires those estates to notify the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program to determine if the state is owed money for Medicaid medical care.

• Monitoring the effects of Medicare Part D to maximize drug rebates and possibly joining a purchasing pool for prescription drugs. This will allow the state to make informed decisions on how to maximize drug rebates and possibly join a purchasing pool for prescription drugs. Joining purchasing pools and increasing the use of generic drugs has the potential to save $59 million per year.

• Tracking and reporting the over utilization of Medicaid services through the Primary Alternative Care and Treatment Program (PACT). The PACT program was established by ODJFS in 1983 to target Medicaid recipients who had a history of abusing services. This provision would require PACT to report and track information so that it can be used to create cost savings.

A copy of the Medicaid Performance Audit is available online at www.auditor.state.oh.us.