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NEW YORK Jan 11 The U.S. attorney for the
Southern District of New York sued New York City on Tuesday for
civil penalties and damages "of at least tens of millions of
dollars" over its Medicaid program.
From 2000 to 2010, some patients wrongly received
"continuous" or 24-hour home care while others who should have
such extra help did not.
"The City's alleged conduct has resulted in patients
receiving more services through the program than necessary or
warranted by their condition, resulting in substantial
additional costs to taxpayers," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara
said in a statement.
New York City has one of the nation's costliest and most
generous programs for Medicaid, which provides health care for
the elderly, poor and disabled.
New York state is one of the few states that forces its
counties -- including New York City -- to share some of the
cost. The state's governors for years have vowed to root out
fraud and mismanagement in Medicaid, which costs New York state
about $1 billion a day.
Spokesmen for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, and
Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who has made overhauling
Medicaid an important pillar of his plan to close a $10 billion
deficit, had no immediate comment.
Sometimes the decisions about which patients would get home
care were made without the required medical experts'
evaluations, and sometimes the medical findings were overruled
by administrators, Bharara said. In other instances, the
necessary paperwork was not filed.
"It goes without saying that ultimate medical decisions
about patient care should be made by doctors and nurses, not
government bureaucrats, and they should be based first and
foremost on the best interests of the patient," Bharara said.
"The allegations here are serious and unfortunately reflect
a systemic failure to responsibly administer the Medicaid
(Reporting by Joan Gralla; Editing by Diane Craft and Dan