Antonovich Takes On Welfare Fraud
"Data Mining" technology aims to fix problems with system
To curb welfare fraud, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich introduced a motion to provide fraud detection and prevention training to all County staff who administer public assistance programs and incorporate “data mining” technology in the Department of Public and Social Services Data warehouse.
“This action will improve interagency collaboration in all County-administered public assistance programs and provide additional avenues to detect, prosecute and prevent fraud,” said Supervisor Antonovich.
Currently, the State and County are individually responsible for investigating fraud in their respective programs. The State investigates fraud in the County-administered Medi-Cal and In-Home Supportive Services programs and the County investigates fraud in the County-administered childcare, welfare and food stamp programs. These agencies may not always have adequate awareness about fraud in each other's program.
Last week, three doctors, Michael C. Chan, a Cerritos obstetrician, William W. Hampton, a Seal Beach surgeon, and Mario Z. Rosenberg, a gastroenterologist from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, were arrested in an insurance fraud scheme that included 17 other conspirators and involving hundreds of patients across the nation.
This past year, the State’s successful “data mining” program recovered a record $274 million in funds stolen from Medi-Cal. Additionally, on March 21, 2006 the Board approved a motion to develop an interagency Data Warehouse, which DPSS will begin implementing in July 2007 to help prevent fraud by accessing automated welfare, child care and housing data during the actual benefit application process.
By employing proven “data mining” technology to the data warehouse, County agencies will enhance its continuing efforts, working with the District Attorney, to combat fraud. In 2006, DPSS investigated over 39,000 fraud referrals last year -- saving taxpayers $55 million dollars.
Supervisor Antonovich encourages the public to report fraud to WeTip, at (800) 87 FRAUD (873-7283), or the Central Fraud Reporting Line at (800) 349-9970.