Medicaid director sued over comments about AG Hood

JACKSON – A Lee County resident is suing Medicaid Executive Director Bob Robinson for comments he made regarding Attorney General Jim Hood.
In a September hearing of the Legislative Budget Committee, Robinson accused Hood of not prosecuting a case of Medicaid fraud. Robinson’s accusations were further investigated in a Thursday hearing of the Legislative Budget Committee.
Robinson is being sued by Ray Shoemaker of Lee County, who is president of a health care management company.
During the earlier hearing, Robinson never mentioned Shoemaker by name, but accused one health care provider of defrauding $24 million from the Division of Medicaid. He said Hood would not prosecute the case.
It was later revealed that Robinson was referring to Tri-Lakes Hospital in Batesvile where Shoemaker served as an administrator.
On Thursday, Hood said he was limited on what he could say because of ongoing investigations and because of the lawsuit against Robinson. His office is defending Robinson.
However, Hood said the Division of Medicaid does not properly monitor payments it makes to health care providers. Because of that, the Division had made overpayments, but that does not necessarily mean someone has broken the law. Hood said Medicaid needed mechanisms to prevent such overpayments.
Robinson continued to blast Hood during Thursday’s hearing where Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, who chairs the Budged Committee, almost had to serve as a referee.
“Medicaid has no authority to prosecute fraud and abuse cases so we will continue referring cases of suspected fraud or abuse to the AG…,” Robinson said. “However, if past history is any example, I am very concerned as to how we will create a strong deterrent when there have been virtually no prosecutions for Medicaid fraud and abuse in Mississippi by the attorney general.”
Robinson said Hood’s office had collected a little more than $6,000 in fraud cases in six years, whereas his office by itself had collected more than $3 million.
Hood said the Division of Medicaid had referred only 26 cases to his office in six years for prosecution and only one this year. He said private individuals had referred more than 100 and his office had collected $37 million for the state.
He said one case referred to his office by Medicaid involved the purchase of adult diapers. Hood said the case involved an older child who needed diapers for medical reasons, but was too big for youth diapers.
“You can’t prosecute somebody for that,” Hood said.

Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal