A report approved by a House committee yesterday found that billions of federal funds are misspent on New York’s Medicaid program, including 15 executives at nonprofits that receive most of their funding from the health-care program for the poor and disabled who earned more $500,000 a year each, according to a Gannett Washington Bureau report in The Journal News/lohud.com today.
Another 100 executive at nonprofits in the state received “excessive” salaries of more than $200,000 each, the report said. Their organizations operate primarily to provide Medicaid services. Five of the agencies are in Rockland and Westchester counties—Jawonio Inc. in New City; Westchester Institute for Human Development, Valhalla; Westchester School for Special Children, Yonkers; Hamaspik of Rockland County, Monsey; and Premier HealthCare Inc., which has an office in White Plains.
“New York’s per-resident Medicaid spending is nearly double that of Pennsylvania and more than double that of California and the entire country,” the report said.
The report recommends that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order capping executive salaries for most contractors that do business with the state at $199,000 should be codified into law by the state Legislature. The Legislature should act on the governor’s request to ban “spousal refusal,” in which a spouse can financial abandon a marriage without getting a divorce. That way, the spouse who doesn’t need Medicaid-paid nursing home care can keep the couple’s financial assets.
Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan, the only New York House member at yesterday’s hearing, cast the only vote against approving the report, although she didn’t dispute the findings. She said it didn’t give Cuomo enough credit for reforms he has made to the Medicaid system and doesn’t highlight the program’s important social benefits.
Maloney noted that the reforms are expected to save $34 billion over five years, including $17 billion for the federal government.
“The governor is attacking a problem that has plagued the state for over two decades and should be applauded,” Maloney said.
The committee’s findings don’t cover all Medicaid-funded nonprofits in New York.