Audit: DHH paid nearly $2M through Medicaid for dead people

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Legislative Auditors report on the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) reveals some Medicaid beneficiaries received benefits after they had died. DHH paid $1,849,474 in participant fees for 1,727 deceased individuals in the Louisiana Behavioral Health Partnership. Many of which had passed away prior to the program kicking off.

Darryl Purpera, the legislative auditor released the audit on Monday. "DHH has responsibility to determine who's eligible who's not eligible," says Purpera. "What my auditors did was look at the vital statistics data and then electronically compared that data base to the data base of the eligible participants in this program and what we found that seventeen hundred of them were actually deceased."

Ironically enough the information Purpera's office used to cross reference the decedents came from DHH. "We've also recommended that they tighten up their procedures to make sure this doesn't happen again, says Purpera.

"The primary problem is we were relying on information from a federal data base," says DHH secretary Kathy Kleibert. "Social security data base for some of our individuals...that's how we determined their Medicaid eligibility. So we were relying on that data base that was inaccurate completely in accurate and that's where the majority of the errors occurred."

"These are not fraudulent cases. These are not companies that are billing us for services that are deceased individuals. These are management fees that we are paying to basically a certain number of individuals are in each of these plans we pay management fees for each of those individuals," Kliebert adds.

She says the money should be back to the state by next February

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