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Cause for Concern



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The very title of a recent legislative audit sounds alarm bells: "A Performance Audit of Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Controls in Utah's Medicaid Program." Then, to read the auditor's report and to learn the extent of ongoing shenanigans within the state's Medicaid program is mindboggling, or as Utah's House Speaker said, "Damning."

The bottom line is this - millions of federal and state Medicaid dollars are going down the proverbial drain. In fact, the audit suggests a $20 million savings could be realized with better training and oversight, along with updating an antiquated computer system that has been in use since 1987.

Those Health Department officials with responsibility for managing Medicaid describe the audit as "insightful." Although they dispute the amount of money that could be saved, they "accept all of the recommendations . . . and have begun the work required to implement them."

The taxpayers of Utah certainly hope so.

In view of the ongoing national debate over health care reform, we can't help wondering: If this type of thing is happening in Utah - "the best managed state in the nation" - what will happen as the government becomes more fully engaged in health care? Most certainly, it is cause for concern.

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