Today governor Scott Walker announced the creation of a new Office of the Inspector General (OIG) within the Department of Health Services (DHS) to consolidate and improve the Department's public assistance program integrity and fraud prevention efforts. The OIG will allow for better coordination of the agency's fraud detection efforts, implementation of fraud prevention budget initiatives and any final recommendations made by the Governor's Commission on Waste, Fraud and Abuse.
"Preventing waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars is a top priority of my administration, and the OIG will give the state a much needed tool to protect state taxpayers," Governor Walker said.
DHS manages many of the state's largest public assistance programs, including Medicaid, FoodShare, the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) supplemental food program and the state supplement to Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Currently, program integrity and anti-fraud efforts are housed within individual programs located throughout the Department. The OIG will bring each of these efforts into one office reporting directly to the Secretary. These programs serve more than one million people with a biennial budget of more than $14 billion.
"By improving coordination and communication between agencies, we can more successfully identify those who fraudulently apply for benefits," said State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. "The OIG will greatly assist our efforts to investigate and prosecute those who break the law."
"We must ensure that the resources we have for public assistance programs are preserved to help those who truly need them, and the OIG will allow us to streamline and focus our efforts to ensure that taxpayer funds are used only for the purpose for which they have been entrusted to us," said Secretary of Health Services, Dennis G. Smith.
Governor Walker also announced that Alan White will be the new OIG Director. White has served as Wisconsin Bureau of Program Integrity Director for 13 years focusing on identifying and stopping Medicaid provider fraud.
"I am honored to be asked to serve as Director of the new Office of Inspector General and look forward to the challenges of improving the integrity of the state's public assistance programs," said White. "My experience leading fraud detection and prevention efforts, and reducing waste and abuse of the state's health care programs, will assist us as we move forward on these important goals."
DHS will reallocate existing positions and budgets to carry out OIG functions. The 2009-11 biennial budget includes an additional $2 million and 19 positions to support fraud prevention and program integrity activities beginning in fiscal year 2012-13. These new positions will be added to the OIG to bolster and improve the state's current fraud detection efforts.