Governor Cuomo Vetoes OMIG Reform Bill

Many providers were disappointed to learn that on September 23, 2011, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill that was previously passed without opposition by both houses of the New York State legislature (A.5686-A Gottfried and S.2184-A Little). According to the press release of one of the bill’s sponsors, “[t]he bill would set forth standards for the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) audit process in order to protect honest providers and the patients they serve.” The highlights of the bill are discussed here.

In his veto message to the Senate, the Governor stated:

The provider community, as a whole, plays a critical role in serving the needs of New Yorkers and many of their concerns reflected in this bill are legitimate.  However, in attempting to address these issues, the bill seeks to make changes to the law that are too far reaching and would potentially allow fraudulent and abusive activity to go undetected or unprosecuted.

The Governor did inform the Senate that he is directing the Medicaid Inspector General “to conduct a thorough review of OMIG’s policies and methods and to convene a working group comprised of representatives of provider associations and others, to work through the issues attempted to be addressed by the bill.”

While the Governor indicated that he is confident that through this collaborative process meaningful change will be effectuated, many providers and their respective association groups are not so optimistic. The President of New York Dental Association, for example, in a response echoed by other provider groups, stated that it was disappointing that Governor Cuomo vetoed “this important piece of legislation,” as “[i]t has become increasingly difficult for our member dentists to treat Medicaid patients…”