Congressional Panel Questions N.Y.’s Audit of Visiting Nurse Group

A House panel is looking into the state of New York’s lengthy audit of a visiting nurses’ group with ties to Governor Cuomo, and whether there was improper intervention by the governor’s administration regarding alleged Medicaid overpayments. 

New York’s state Medicaid oversight agency, the Office of Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG), has been auditing the not-for-profit Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNS) for about five years.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government asked VNS for all documents and communications with the New York OMIG dating back to 2008 relating to the audit after finding “dramatic reductions in the amount of findings of Medicaid overpayments received by VNS,” says a letter the panel sent to Mary Ann Christopher, president and CEO of VNS.

“Information obtained by the committee indicates that during a 2011 meeting about the VNS audit, the governor’s office advised OMIG not to release the audit,” said the Aug. 1 letter, signed by Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), and two subcommittee chairmen.

A preliminary finding in 2011 from the OMIG audit indicated VNS had received $153 million in Medicaid overpayments, but a 2013 draft audit reduced that amount to $94 million and suggested settling the overpayment for just $68 million. 

The House panel’s letter, which referenced the lengthy audit and the reduction in overpayment findings, also mentioned the “apparent involvement” of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office in the case, and raised questions “as to whether VNS has received favorable treatment due to its powerful political connections.”

Governor Cuomo’s office did not intervene, according to state officials cited by the Associated Press, and the overpayment settlement reduction was produced after additional documents were filed by VNS after it  had been presented with the initial 2011 findings. The audit has taken so long, the officials say, because it has involved “a massive volume of documents.” 

Access the letter. 

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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