Except Medicaid doesn’t do any good for patients who are already dead.
The Louisiana Department of Health has improved the number of improper payments to deceased Medicaid recipients over the last four years but still has work to do, according to a new report from the state’s Legislative Auditor.
The report released Monday says LDH made $717,820 in improper payments for 712 Medicaid recipients between July 2013 and August 2017. That number is an improvement over the Legislative’s Auditors October 2013 report that found LDH had paid about $1.85 million in per member per month fees for 1,727 deceased individuals between February 2012 and June 2013.
“Auditors found that LDH improperly paid $637,745 in per member per month fees for 203 deceased Medicaid recipients between July 2013 and August 2017. The Department also made $80,075 in fee-for-service payments directly to providers who submitted claims for services provided to 517 deceased Medicaid recipients,” the report says.
Auditors also say they also found that the organizations responsible for administering the Medicaid program paid $42,602 for services involving 181 recipients that occurred after the recipients had died. 53 percent of that amount or $22,879 went to pharmacy providers, the audit found.
The full audit can be found here.
Sure, you could make the argument that $700,000 over four years is a drop in the bucket considering the $14 billion the state spends on Medicaid, and you’d be correct. The problem being the bucket is full of drops – the member fees paid on dead Medicaid recipients is only one way the Louisiana Department of Health wastes your money on sloppy bookkeeping.
Not to mention that sloppy bookkeeping opens up a nice hole that enterprising criminals wrangling themselves LDH contracts can screw the taxpayer by charging for medical services to stiffs.
At least once or twice a month there’s a press release from the Attorney General’s office announcing some new slimeball who’s been caught committing millions of dollars in Medicaid fraud. Seldom if ever are there any LDH employees brought up on charges of colluding with the slimeballs. That’s not a shot at the Attorney General’s office; it’s a recognition that Medicaid is so big, and so full of opportunities to bleed the taxpayer, that in its current form it’s virtually impossible to reform into a functional government program.
But it gives poor dead people vital health services, dontchaknow. And thanks to our governor, it’s giving even more poor dead people those health services. If you question that, you’re a racist or a bigot, or something.