California Healthline: DHCS Director Apologizes at Hearing Examining Medi-Cal Drug Program Fraud

by David Gorn

Department of Health Care Services director Toby Douglas apologized for “lapses in state oversight” of a Medi-Cal drug abuse treatment program at a hearing yesterday in Sacramento.

“I’m here to tell you that we are sorry that we did not take action sooner,” Douglas said. “We now know the extent of the problem… We want to make sure this never happens again.”

Yesterday’s joint legislative oversight hearing was convened to address allegations of fraud and Medi-Cal system abuse within the Drug Medi-Cal program, which is overseen by DHCS. Reports by the Center for Investigative Reporting and CNN said rampant and persistent fraud went relatively untouched by state oversight.

Assembly member Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), chair of the Assembly Committee on Health, had some strong words to frame the discussion.

“We’ve heard story after story about alleged fraud in the Drug Medi-Cal program,” Pan said. “Questions have been raised about provider certification, and the lack of follow-up by responsible agencies about concerns raised about fraudulent activity. Personally, as a physician who cares for children on Medi-Cal, I am outraged.”

Pan laid out some of the allegations:

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