February 1, 2021
The NYS Council has retained Attorney Robert Hussar (formerly with Barclay Damon and, as of 1/20, with Rivkin Radler, LLP), to represent our association. Hussar was our guest speaker some three weeks ago when we hosted a NYS Council Weekly Support and Public Policy call designed to provide information and suggestions to members regarding the OMIG OPRA audits. In addition, the NYS Council is leading a group of associations working collaboratively to push back on the OMIG, to secure support and assistance from the Governor’s Office and from state lawmakers, and to provide education to our members. That group will retain Hussar under a separate contract, to assist us with our collaborative work.
On Friday night, I forwarded all NYS Council members a note sent to me from Robert Hussar re: the status of conversations between OMH, OASAS and OMIG. The note stated that OMIG may be open to requests for an extension beyond the (current) February 5 date by which agencies swept up in the ‘probe’ are currently required to respond to the audit letter they received from the Office. We have also received confirmed that several provider organizations swept up in the ‘probe’ have been granted extensions. So, if you are one of the providers who received an audit letter from OMIG re: an OPRA audit, please consider this new information and consult counsel. Of course, the NYS Council is also here to help. Feel free to call me if you want to talk it over.
Finally, last week we learned that there will be a change at the top of the OMIG. Frank Walsh, who for many decades has led the Health Unit at the Division of Budget (focus on budget matters pertaining to healthcare and the Medicaid Program), will be assuming the lead role at the OMIG on February 8.
We remain deeply concerned that this audit could grow and result in an additional 385 audits being released to impacted providers. While OMH and OASAS continue to meet with OMIG, our advocacy group has put together a strategic plan designed to put significant pressure on OMIG to halt all audits on this topic, and to reverse audits already issued. To this issue, on Friday when we met with Hussar he advised that we hold off (for the moment) on a media blitz directed at the OMIG given the impending changes at the Office, and the news that OMIG took our sign on letter seriously and is investigating the claims we made therein.
We urge all NYS Council members to visit the site of the NYS Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) from time to time, to stay abreast of OMIG activities, and specifically, the OMIG Workplan. You can find it here: https://omig.ny.gov/information-resources/work-plan.
As you will see, the OMIG Workplan has not yet been updated to reflect 2021 priorities; however, in 2020, it did include a focus on Medicaid enrolled providers. Remember: The Workplan is evolving so the topics discussed do not necessarily represent the universe of high priorities of the Office.