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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Medicaid Inspector General Issues First Audit Report

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids, and graduated from Valley Heights High School in May of 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications.After stops at KFRM and KCLY radio in Clay Center, he joined KNDY in 2002 as a board operator and play by play announcer. Derek is now responsible for the digital content of Dierking Communications, Inc. six radio stations.In 2005 Derek joined the staff of KCFX radio in Kansas City as a production coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, which airs on over 94 radio stations across 12 Midwest states and growing. In 2018 he became the Studio Coordinator at the Cumulus Kansas City broadcast center for Kansas City Chiefs Football.

TOPEKA – (August 5, 2019) – Kansas Medicaid Inspector General Sarah Fertig last week released the first audit report compiled by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) since its transfer to the Office of the Attorney General from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

In this first report, the inspector general detailed that during the time the inspector general position was vacant, a total of 209 emails directed to the vacant office at KDHE went unread, including 95 emails that either alleged fraud, waste, abuse, or illegal acts related to Medicaid, MediKan, or SCHIP, or were seeking information on how to report suspected fraud. The audit report was submitted last week to Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Secretary of Health and Environment Lee Norman, Secretary for Children and Families Laura Howard and the members of the Robert G. (Bob) Bethell Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services and KanCare Oversight.

The OIG was established by state law in 2007, but in later years the position was not filled and eventually the office ceased to operate. The last employee of the OIG left KDHE in 2014. In 2017, the legislature enacted law transferring the OIG to the Office of the Attorney General, and Fertig was confirmed as the inspector general in January 2019. Since then, the office has worked to reconstitute its capacity to perform audits and conduct other oversight work required by law.

This first audit report discovered that after the last OIG employee left KDHE in 2014, an administrative employee at KDHE continued to monitor the email account set up by the OIG to take complaints until August 2017 when that employee left KDHE. From that time, the email account remained active, but unmonitored, resulting in the unread emails later provided to the OIG after it was reconstituted at the Office of the Attorney General.

The report contains five recommendations for KDHE and DCF to ensure that reports of fraud and abuse are correctly directed to the OIG going forward.

A copy of the report is available at http://bit.ly/2MsLDUF.

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