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Day 3 of 45: Three Committee Meetings

January 25, 2012

Today I had three committee meetings, and two hours of floor time in the Senate Chambers. I also hosted a number of constituents, had lunch with four city councils in my district, gave several tours, and spoke to about 75 people at the Bountiful Library with Jim Nielsen and Becky Edwards.

I think I spoke with more people today than any other day as a state senator, and really enjoyed it too. I watched a representative sleeping right next to me in a committee hearing. I also spoke to two people at the Capitol who I have known for years who had no idea that I was a state senator — which is both humbling and awkward at the same time.

This picture is with a group of insurance agents from Davis County, including Rick Martin.

My day started with two hours in the Social Services Appropriations subcommittee. Here are some of the highlights:

-37% of Utahns receiving food stamps and 19% participating in medical programs come from families who received the same.

-47% of Utah adults receiving support from Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) came from families who received the same help.

-Of the adults ages 21 to 39 who currently receive assistance, 34% grew up in families who also received assistance.

-Human Services charges $25/$50 hour for GRAMA requests, which makes me wonder if the government is making a profit processing citizen requests.

-Rep. McCay voted “NO” approving the use of federal funds in the state budget because for every dollar the Feds are spending, we are borrowing 40 cents.

-If the Feds don’t come through with the funding due to default or cutbacks, Utah would have to step up and replace these funds.

-Without a quorum, the social services committee could not vote to approve the receipt fo the federal funds as a preliminary step in preparing the baseline budget.

-The Office of the Inspector General (OIC) enforces measures to identify, prevent and reduce Medicaid fraud, waste and abuse.

-People can report Medicaid fraud (misreporting assets, income, etc.) at the DWS website, http://jobs.utah.gov

-Former Salt Lake City Mayor Palmer DePaulis, Exeutive Director of the Department of Human Services, testified again before social services.

-Selling medical items and supplies constitutes Medicaid fraud

-Sen. Pat Jones asks A LOT of questions in Social Services

-If you use another recipient’s card, use more than one card, or change a prescription, then that consititues Medicaid fraud

-If you “up-code”, i.e., bill for a higher level of service than actually provided, then that constitutes Medicaid fraud

-If a health care provider bills Medicaid for services that were not necessary or required, then that also constitutes fraud

-If a hospital bills for patients who did not receive services, then that is Medicaid fraud

-If a doctor bills Medicaid before the treatment is done, that would be another instance of fraud

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