File Photo / WBFO/AM 970 News

County Executive Mark Poloncarz has named Erie County Deputy Comptroller Michael Szukala to lead a new county anti-fraud task force.

As a Medicaid inspector, Szukala and a three member team will investigate potential fraud perpetrated by pharmacists and other professionals connected with the aid program. The effort will be funded by the state Department of Health and the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General.

Szukala begins his new post on Tuesday.

Interviews will be held to fill his former seat.

Medicaid fraud bureau to seek out abuse

Jul 11, 2012
Chris Caya/WBFO News

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has announced the creation of a Medicaid Anti-Fraud Task Force. 

Poloncarz says Medicaid continues to represent the single largest cost to the county -- $211 million already this year.  He says the new task force will root out "provider-level" waste, fraud, and abuse from doctors, dentists, transportation services and pharmacists.

Poloncarz says the task force will go after "the types of entities that overbill the system." He cited a Monroe County pharmacist that fraudulently billed for prescriptions that were never filled.

WBFO News file photo

Some state officials are hoping the surge of Medicaid costs can be eased by cutting fraud within the system.

They're carefully following new procedures employed locally by Health Transaction Network which is using a computer fingerprint identification system.

State Senator Mark Grisanti, for one, thinks Medicaid can use the system statewide.

Critics have raised privacy concerns, but Grisanti castes those aside
"All this card does is break your fingerprints down to a zeroes and ones," Grisanti said.