Updated: 03/28/2013 10:49 AM KSTP.com By: Jay Kolls
For the first time, a witness talks publicly about meeting with federal investigators looking into Minnesota's Medicaid program. The Greater Minnesota Health Care Coalition, made up of retired health care professionals, says it met with federal investigators from the Department of Justice and the Office of the Inspector General.
GMHCC spokesman Buddy Robinson says he and several other GMHCC members met with the Chief Civil Fraud Unit investigator from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota and an investigator with the Office of Inspector General in St. Paul.
Robinson tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS his group met with four investigators at the Minnesota U.S. Attorney's Office and there were six other staff members from the Department of Justice and the Office of Inspector General in Washington, D.C.
Robinson says his group presented evidence of Medicaid fraud which is run by four HMOs here in Minnesota. Robinson says his evidence shows Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota, Medica, HealthPartners and U-Care either "intentionally inflated Medicaid costs and received overpayments from taxpayers totaling at least $162 million over an eight year period." Robinson says the Federal investigators he met with indicated they believed there was enough evidence "that fraud likely occurred."
Former U.S. Attorney Tom Heffelfinger tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that the involvement of the feds in Washington indicates this is "a serious investigation and they are devoting a significant amount of resources to the probe." Heffelfinger says this is clearly a civil investigation and far from a criminal inquiry. Heffelfinger says such a large investigation will likely take months, if not more than a year, to complete.