Attorney general raids two JFS-contracted Medicaid providers
By JUSTIN DENNIS
State authorities on Tuesday raided two transportation providers contracted by Mahoning County Department of Job and Family Services.
County commissioners on Thursday terminated the county’s contracts with Nazik Medi Trans on Mahoning Avenue in Austintown and Swift Care Transport on West McKinley Way in Poland after agents from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office served state search warrants, taking all their computers.
The contracts are set to terminate Dec. 6, according to Thursday’s resolutions.
Kate Hanson, spokeswoman for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, said the searches were part of a Medicaid fraud investigation but could not comment further. The search warrants obtained by the AG’s office are sealed, AG spokesman Dan Tierney said.
The AG’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit “is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of health care providers accused of defrauding the state’s Medicaid program,” according to the AG’s website.
JFS Director Bob Bush said the AG’s office informed county officials of the raid Wednesday but did not explain why the two providers are under investigation. He said he does not know if the investigation involves county JFS clients.
Bush said the providers are, however, unable to do business without computers. He prepared letters informing the vendors that they were being let go and sent them after commissioners’ action Thursday, he said.
“We also have a letter drafted to the other vendors saying they may experience an increase in trip demand because of this,” he said.
The county has contracted the providers for several years on two-year contracts, most recently renewed in May, Bush said. They provided non-emergency transportation for Medicaid-eligible county JFS clients, such as trips to doctor’s appointments, blood transfusion centers, methadone clinics and other medical services, he said.
A spokesperson for Nazik Medi Trans on Thursday confirmed the search and computer seizure but claimed the action was part of the office’s routine, random inquiries into Medicaid providers. A spokesperson for Swift Care Transport declined to comment Thursday.