This summer, I’ve had the privilege to work for the Office of the Attorney General in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the criminal justice and public safety division. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) operates to investigate and prosecute healthcare providers and recipients who take advantage of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens—the elderly, disable, women, children, and poor. Since 1982, the MFCU has recovered more than $1.8 billion in criminal and civil enforcement cases. MFCU coordinates with other state and federal agencies to combat healthcare fraud and patient abuse.
Essentially, my job this summer has involved researching policies, preparing memoranda regarding healthcare fraud allegations, interacting with the False Claims Act, the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, and the Anti-Kickback Statute. Specifically, I helped draft legislation regarding elder’s law, contractual duties, and negligence in the Commonwealth. All of these duties directly relate to women’s issues in Virginia. According to the Department of Medical Assistance Services, Medicaid covered 331,632 women and 638,828 children in low income families in 2014. When service providers and recipients take advantage of the system, they limit the ability of these women and children to receive the necessary care and also steal taxpayer dollars. MFCU’s mission is to protect the vulnerable and to defend the taxpayer funds from fraud.
Women, children, the elderly, and the poor are often taken advantage of due to their lack of funds, knowledge, or social status. It is important for the state and federal governments to continue to protect these communities. I have had the honor of assisting in these prosecutorial matters, putting money back into the hands of the Commonwealth’s citizens, and encouraging confidence in the government’s ability to protect the vulnerable from fraud. Meeting with clients who have been negatively impacted by fraudsters has emphasized the importance of this work. Looking into the face of a daughter who lost her mother due to a healthcare provider’s negligence and fraud and seeing gratitude is a feeling I cannot describe. Our Attorney General has made protecting wives, mothers, daughters, the elderly, and children a priority in the Commonwealth and I am happy to have served in this capacity.