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MEMO to Media: Roanoke Times story gets it wrong on AG's Medicaid fraud recoveries
RICHMOND (August 28, 2013) – This is a brief memo to media to clarify facts that were heavily distorted in a Roanoke Times article today on the OAG's Medicaid fraud recoveries under Attorney General Cuccinelli.
Reporter David Ress selectively chose statistics that didn't tell the whole story and tried to make the successes look smaller by dividing them up throughout the story. His story’s premise: The Medicaid fraud unit’s recoveries have declined since 2008, giving Virginia a 44th-place ranking among the states. Ress’s premise is based on him deliberately neglecting to include the record-breaking $1.5 billion Abbott Labs case the unit cracked in 2012.
From the beginning of the Cuccinelli administration to today, the office's Medicaid fraud convictions have led to a RECORD $1.58 billion in court-ordered restitution, fines, and penalties. That totals more in recoveries than all attorneys general COMBINED since the unit was created in 1982. And the $1.5 billion Abbott case in 2012 was the LARGEST case ever investigated by a state. No other state has even come close.
When Ress referred to a "ranking," he was referencing this OIG report, which is a one-year snapshot and not at all representative of the work we do:
1) Ress was told it didn’t contain Virginia’s $1.5 billion Abbott Labs case we won in 2012 because the case won’t be reported on the government’s annual report until the government’s fiscal year ends on Sept. 30; and
2) he can’t fairly compare single years. There are certainly individual years where other MFCUs may recover more than we do in a single year, but to compare states, you have to look at five-year rolling averages, because the big cases take three or four years to investigate and prosecute. After the four largest states in the country (California, Texas, New York, and Florida), no one else has recovered as much as Virginia has over the last three years, five years, or 10 years, period.
Contrary to Ress's assertions, our collections are not in decline. Instead, we are breaking records. Look at year-by-year chart of Virginia MFCU recoveries on page 39 here. Attorney General Cuccinelli’s recoveries are the highest in history – we even broke our own record which we set nationally in the 2007 Purdue Pharma case (the largest case in US history at the time). And every single year during the Cuccinelli administration, we brought in more recoveries than any other single year in the office’s history before the Purdue case hit.
Our recoveries average $3.1 million per employee annually over the last five years. Mr. Cuccinelli expanded the unit because adding employees is netting millions more dollars in recoveries for Virginia – we recover more stolen taxpayer dollars than we spend in additional salaries.
If you have any questions, please contact Brian Gottstein at email@example.com.