Past Prosecutor to Combat Medicaid Fraud

Published September 1, 2005

In response to revelations of ever-increasing Medicaid fraud, New York Gov. George Pataki (R) in August named Kimberly O’ Connor, a former prosecutor and senior criminal justice official, as New York’s Medicaid Inspector General.

The position involves coordinating the Medicaid fraud, waste, and abuse control activities of state executive agencies whose clients are served by Medicaid. These include the Department of Health, the Office of Mental Health, the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, the Office of Children and Family Services, and the State Education Department. The position was established through an executive order signed by the governor.

Pledged to Remedy Fraud

Pataki expressed confidence O’Connor would “build on our efforts to combat Medicaid fraud and abuse, and protect New York’s taxpayers.”

O’Connor called the newly created position “critical” and said, “I look forward to devoting my energy to strengthening the oversight of our state’s Medicaid system and enforcing our laws to ensure that our tax dollars are only directed at legitimate costs of this program. Those individuals who commit Medicaid fraud will be investigated and brought to justice.”

O’Connor will develop multiagency investigation teams to work in concert with the Office of the Attorney General, county law enforcement officials, and other officials responsible for combating Medicaid fraud. She also will assist in developing legislative, policy, and structural changes needed to strengthen the integrity of the Medicaid program.

O’Connor will report to the secretary to the governor.

Susan Konig ([email protected]) is managing editor of Health Care News.