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2011 Florida Statutes

F.S. 624.351
624.351 Medicaid and Public Assistance Fraud Strike Force.
(1) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.The Legislature finds that there is a need to develop and implement a statewide strategy to coordinate state and local agencies, law enforcement entities, and investigative units in order to increase the effectiveness of programs and initiatives dealing with the prevention, detection, and prosecution of Medicaid and public assistance fraud.
(2) ESTABLISHMENT.The Medicaid and Public Assistance Fraud Strike Force is created within the department to oversee and coordinate state and local efforts to eliminate Medicaid and public assistance fraud and to recover state and federal funds. The strike force shall serve in an advisory capacity and provide recommendations and policy alternatives to the Chief Financial Officer.
(3) MEMBERSHIP.The strike force shall consist of the following 11 members who may not designate anyone to serve in their place:
(a) The Chief Financial Officer, who shall serve as chair.
(b) The Attorney General, who shall serve as vice chair.
(c) The executive director of the Department of Law Enforcement.
(d) The Secretary of Health Care Administration.
(e) The Secretary of Children and Family Services.
(f) The State Surgeon General.
(g) Five members appointed by the Chief Financial Officer, consisting of two sheriffs, two chiefs of police, and one state attorney. When making these appointments, the Chief Financial Officer shall consider representation by geography, population, ethnicity, and other relevant factors in order to ensure that the membership of the strike force is representative of the state as a whole.
(4) TERMS OF MEMBERSHIP; COMPENSATION; STAFF.
(a) The five members appointed by the Chief Financial Officer shall be appointed to 4-year terms; however, for the purpose of providing staggered terms, of the initial appointments, two members shall be appointed to a 2-year term, two members shall be appointed to a 3-year term, and one member shall be appointed to a 4-year term. Each of the remaining members is a standing member of the strike force and may not serve beyond the time he or she holds the position that was the basis for strike force membership. A vacancy shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment but only for the unexpired term.
(b) The Legislature finds that the strike force serves a legitimate state, county, and municipal purpose and that service on the strike force is consistent with a member’s principal service in a public office or employment. Therefore membership on the strike force does not disqualify a member from holding any other public office or from being employed by a public entity, except that a member of the Legislature may not serve on the strike force.
(c) Members of the strike force shall serve without compensation, but are entitled to reimbursement for per diem and travel expenses pursuant to s. 112.061. Reimbursements may be paid from appropriations provided to the department by the Legislature for the purposes of this section.
(d) The Chief Financial Officer shall appoint a chief of staff for the strike force who must have experience, education, and expertise in the fields of law, prosecution, or fraud investigations and shall serve at the pleasure of the Chief Financial Officer. The department shall provide the strike force with staff necessary to assist the strike force in the performance of its duties.
(5) MEETINGS.The strike force shall hold its organizational session by March 1, 2011. Thereafter, the strike force shall meet at least four times per year. Additional meetings may be held if the chair determines that extraordinary circumstances require an additional meeting. Members may appear by electronic means. A majority of the members of the strike force constitutes a quorum.
(6) STRIKE FORCE DUTIES.The strike force shall provide advice and make recommendations, as necessary, to the Chief Financial Officer.
(a) The strike force may advise the Chief Financial Officer on initiatives that include, but are not limited to:
1. Conducting a census of local, state, and federal efforts to address Medicaid and public assistance fraud in this state, including fraud detection, prevention, and prosecution, in order to discern overlapping missions, maximize existing resources, and strengthen current programs.
2. Developing a strategic plan for coordinating and targeting state and local resources for preventing and prosecuting Medicaid and public assistance fraud. The plan must identify methods to enhance multiagency efforts that contribute to achieving the state’s goal of eliminating Medicaid and public assistance fraud.
3. Identifying methods to implement innovative technology and data sharing in order to detect and analyze Medicaid and public assistance fraud with speed and efficiency.
4. Establishing a program to provide grants to state and local agencies that develop and implement effective Medicaid and public assistance fraud prevention, detection, and investigation programs, which are evaluated by the strike force and ranked by their potential to contribute to achieving the state’s goal of eliminating Medicaid and public assistance fraud. The grant program may also provide startup funding for new initiatives by local and state law enforcement or administrative agencies to combat Medicaid and public assistance fraud.
5. Developing and promoting crime prevention services and educational programs that serve the public, including, but not limited to, a well-publicized rewards program for the apprehension and conviction of criminals who perpetrate Medicaid and public assistance fraud.
6. Providing grants, contingent upon appropriation, for multiagency or state and local Medicaid and public assistance fraud efforts, which include, but are not limited to:
a. Providing for a Medicaid and public assistance fraud prosecutor in the Office of the Statewide Prosecutor.
b. Providing assistance to state attorneys for support services or equipment, or for the hiring of assistant state attorneys, as needed, to prosecute Medicaid and public assistance fraud cases.
c. Providing assistance to judges for support services or for the hiring of senior judges, as needed, so that Medicaid and public assistance fraud cases can be heard expeditiously.
(b) The strike force shall receive periodic reports from state agencies, law enforcement officers, investigators, prosecutors, and coordinating teams regarding Medicaid and public assistance criminal and civil investigations. Such reports may include discussions regarding significant factors and trends relevant to a statewide Medicaid and public assistance fraud strategy.
(7) REPORTS.The strike force shall annually prepare and submit a report on its activities and recommendations, by October 1, to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Governor, and the chairs of the House of Representatives and Senate committees that have substantive jurisdiction over Medicaid and public assistance fraud.
History.s. 4, ch. 2010-144.