FRANKFORT, Ky. – Did you know that fraud and abuse of Kentucky's health and welfare programs could cost taxpayers millions of dollars each year? It's important that Kentuckians know they can help detect and prevent this fraud and abuse from occurring simply by picking up the phone.
Anyone who suspects fraud or abuse in public health and welfare programs can call 1-800-372-2970 to report information to the Office of Inspector General in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The Office of Inspector General has received almost 5,300 calls to date in 2004, up from 4,600 in 2003.
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is launching a public awareness "hotline" campaign. The cabinet's Office of Inspector General is required by law to provide a toll-free phone to receive reports of alleged fraud and abuse. As part of the overall plan to increase efforts to detect and prevent waste, fraud and abuse, OIG is promoting the hotline and encouraging Kentuckians to use it.
"Resources for health and welfare programs are precious, limited and in high-demand. That's the reason it is so important for the general public to step forward when they suspect someone is fraudulently obtaining or providing services or abusing the use of those services," said Inspector General Robert Benvenuti.
"Whether the fraudulent activity involves a medical provider or a public assistance recipient, funds obtained through these programs illegally could deprive others who legitimately qualify from receiving much-needed assistance."
“Citizens can and do play a critical role in detecting and preventing fraud and abuse simply by reporting known or suspected fraud and abuse”, said OIG Director of Special Investigations Steve L. Brodt. “Some of our best cases are started by hotline calls,” he said.
Public health and welfare programs in Kentucky include: Medicaid; the Kentucky Children's Health Insurance Program (KCHIP); the Women, Infants and Children nutritional program (WIC); the Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program (KTAP, formerly AFDC); and Food Stamps.
"One of the cabinet's top priorities is to detect, investigate and prevent fraud," Benvenuti said. "We want to protect the taxpayers' money with which we’ve been entrusted. Ultimately, those who choose to commit fraud in Kentucky’s health and welfare programs are victimizing the citizens of the Commonwealth.”
The toll-free hotline, 1-800-372-2970, is located within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Office of Inspector General, Division of Special Investigations. Those reporting fraud and abuse are never required to give their names.