Medicaid fraud probe creates bureaucratic nightmare for patients — Part 2

Source: NJ.com
PART ONE
We looked into the state’s case against Zubari…and then we tracked down the right person in the state.
The Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor, part of the Attorney General’s office, is working the case.
“We believe patient access to their records is critical and we have assigned staff whose sole day-to-day responsibilities are to be responsive to records requests,” he said, noting patients with a time sensitive needs should say so when they call. The phone number is the same one Katsakos called. We wondered what the holdup was in responding to her request and why she didn’t hear back.
“We determined that the most efficient way to address the requests was to call back patients in the event their requests lacked some pertinent information,” he said. “Ms. Kataskos had provided all the information and had not indicated her request was emergent. She was on track to receive her records.”
We also asked why patients hadn’t received notice from the state. The spokesman said investigators only seized materials that were necessary to prove the crime the state was alleging.
“We did not necessarily seize a document such as a master patient list or paper patient files that could quickly make available patient contact information,” he said, noting that the state’s examination of the company’s “massive and sophisticated computer servers” continues.
We asked how many patients were affected, but the spokesman said it’s too early to tell. “It is our assumption that the records we are reviewing contain test results from every patient the company has tested since its opening in 2005,” he said. That’s sure to be a whole lot of patients.
We went back to Katsakos, and she called the number again. This time the line was answered by a real person. The rep said the records were being held by a third-party company, and she’d call Katsakos back by the end of the day, Katsakos said. “I can see them all piled in boxes somewhere,” she said while she waited. “I asked how long it would take to find and she said, ‘I don’t know.'”
But in a few hours, the rep did call back. The records were found, and a CD with the images would be mailed to Katsakos by the end of the day.

Patients who need copies of medical scans from Diagnostic Imaging Affiliates should call (609) 777-3625 and provide their name, date of birth, the type of test, the date of the test, the body part tested and a mailing address where the records can be sent.

“I’m not going to fault the rep—she was very nice—but why don’t we openly give people information? The process is wrong,” she said. “I’m just one person at one imaging center. Imagine how many others?” Then Katsakos’ co-worker Lavin made the call, and she said she was told Lavin would receive the images in the mail in a couple of days—in time for her appointment next week.

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Medicaid fraud probe creates bureaucratic nightmare for patients - Part 1