Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

February 15, 2011

Nichols’ bill to aid in prosecuting Medicaid fraud

JACKSONVILLE — State Senator Robert Nichols (R- Jacksonville) filed a bill Monday in the hopes of putting Medicaid defrauders’ feet a little closer to the fire.

Nichols introduced Senate Bill 688 this week, which would give the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit wider powers to prosecute those charged with stealing from the state.

“Medicaid fraud is a crime against every Texan who pays into the system,” Nichols said in a press release to the Daily Progress. “This gives prosecutors the tools need to better pursue violators.”

The bill is one of two introduced to Texas legislators this week. The other, introduced by House Representative Brandon Creighton (R- Conroe), was introduced at the same time.

According to Nichols’ Media Representative Alicia Pierce, sending the bill to both the House and the Senate is a strategy to “cover all the bases.”

“They’re called companion bills,” she said. “Last session, there was a really controversial voter-id measure, which will come up again this session, it’s already passed the Senate, and so the House did this thing called chubbing, which is basically a way of filibustering and that went on for days and days, so lots of bills that had passed the Senate died for lack of a hearing.”

“Chubbing” is similar to filibustering in that members of the House take up time speaking in order to block the vote on legislation.

During last year’s session, the bill was introduced in the House, but like many other bills, it didn’t make it to a vote and died,Pierce said

According to Pierce, the Attorney General approached Nichols looking for help to expand the powers for prosecuting defrauders.

The bills give prosecutors more power in a number of ways, according to the press release. The previous statute of limitations for prosecuting Medicaid fraud was three years, and would be expanded to seven years if the bill passes. The bill also makes provisions to classify the fraud as an organized crime, since many defrauders work as part of a group.

“It increases penalties, which can act as a deterrent, as well as improve prosecution,” Pierce said.

In the release, Nichols stated that Attorney General Gregg Abbott has made strides in reducing Medicaid.

“Last year, the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit identified $71 million in Medicaid overpayments,” Nichols said. “By giving the division even better legal avenues to prevent fraud, I believe our state will save even more.”

Information on Medicaid fraud in Cherokee County has been requested from the Attorney General’s office through an open-records request.

According to an e-mail by Attorney General Media Representative Tom Kelly, criminal cases of Medicaid fraud in the county has in the past “involved patient abuse in nursing homes and prescription drug abuse by employees,” he said. “There's not much on financial fraud.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Christian Rapper 0419.tif Local rap artist spreads the 411 on Jesus

    "I have seen things in my life that would make Dr. Phil crazy," Jacksonville native, ordained minister and aspiring rap artist Stephen I. Crow Jr. said with a laugh. "That's why I don't label my music specifically as "Christian rap" -- yes, Christians who love rap can listen and hopefully be uplifted, but I truly want and am trying to bring the word and Jesus' message to people who may never have heard it or don't believe it's for them.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tomato Bowl flushed to bottom of priorities

    The historic Tomato Bowl, built in 1940, stands strong on the outside, but according to some people the inside needs a lot of work in order to not be an eyesore.

    April 19, 2014

  • Cherokee County arrest: April 8-14

    The Daily Progress will publish a list of arrests from the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office on a weekly basis.

    April 19, 2014

  • Jacksonville College, high schools team up to offer dual credit program

    Jacksonville College is currently offering qualifying high school juniors and seniors attending Jacksonville and New Summerfield ISDs and The Brookhill School in Bullard the opportunity to get head start on their higher education.

    April 18, 2014

  • JISD board members to consider district strategic plan

    The Jacksonville ISD Board of Trustees will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 21, to discuss a district strategic plan and consider buying new band uniforms.

    April 18, 2014

  • 2 men arrested after standoff in grocery store

    Two men were arrested early Wednesday morning after a standoff at the B&B Foods in Alto.
    According to Alto Police Chief Jeremy Jackson, a person reported seeing two black males at the store just before 3 a.m. Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Some area entities closed for holiday

    Many area offices and businesses will be closed Friday in observance of Good Friday and Easter.

    April 17, 2014

  • Dispatcher Enge 0416.tif JPD dispatcher killed in wreck

    A dispatcher for the Jacksonville Police Department was killed Monday on her way to work, according to officials.
    Amber Enge, 35, of Whitehouse was pronounced dead at the scene of a one-vehicle wreck Monday afternoon on CR 2177 in Whitehouse.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • CR speed limit changes, E-filling fee top agenda

    On Monday, Cherokee County commissioners set April 28 to hold public hearings concerning the changing speed limits on two county roads.

    April 16, 2014

  • Catherine look.tif Religious lines drawn: Protesters met by members of Church of Wells

    Other than a few community members' voices that rose above the crowd, the protest Saturday against the Church of Wells remained peaceful.

    April 15, 2014 3 Photos