August 2, 2012 -
The repeated death in the New York State Assembly of an anti-fraud Medicaid Bill has prompted Tonawanda City Mayor Ron Pilozzi and Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwicke to join forces with New York State Senator Mark Grisanti in supporting it publicly. The three converged at the Edward A. Rath County Office Building in Tonawanda on Monday to let their voices be heard.
The Bill proposes the creation of a Medicaid identification and anti-fraud biometric technology program that uses human characteristics such as fingerprints, eye retina scans, voice technology and even hand movements. Its primary purpose is to help the state save millions of dollars by helping clinics, hospitals and pharmacies correctly identify a patient before it pays for their medical services.
Grisanti estimates that out of the US$54 million spent on welfare statewide every year, about 10 percent or roughly US$5 million, goes to Medicaid fraud. A total of US$210 million is being spent by the government as payment to service providers under the Medicaid program which makes it one of the biggest ticket items in the country and a major issue locally.
With the current state of the country’s fiscal system, it is important that certain steps are taken to guard against Medicaid fraud and preserve the integrity of the program. New biometric technology arguably will not only weed out those who are looking to make false claims under the program but also protect taxpayers.
How much damage does Medicaid fraud inflict on the country’s economy? Can it be remedied with the use of biometric identification technology?