Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater Appoints Members to the Newly-Formed Medicaid Strike Force
Contact: Alexis Lambert
TALLAHASSEE—Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced the appointment of five law enforcement members to the newly-formed Medicaid and Public Assistance Fraud Strike Force. The Strike Force was created during the 2010 Legislative Session to increase the coordination and effectiveness of programs and initiatives that work to prevent, detect and prosecute Medicaid and public assistance fraud. CFO Atwater serves as Chair of the 11-member Strike Force.
The state’s Medicaid program accounts for 25 percent of Florida's budget, with an estimated 10 percent of that cost attributed to Medicaid fraud. State economists indicate that Medicaid is the state’s biggest cost driver, with projected increases in Medicaid possibly exceeding $400 million this year.
“Fraud, waste and abuse in the state’s Medicaid program is costing the state as much as $2.4 billion a year,” said CFO Atwater. “A partnership with Governor Scott, Attorney General Bondi and the law enforcement, regulatory and prosecutorial communities will create a system for sharing information and coordinating efforts that will lead to more aggressive detection and prosecution of Medicaid and public assistance fraud, and help stop the bleeding in our state’s budget.”
The Strike Force will consist of the following 11 members: the CFO as Chair, the Attorney General as Vice Chair, the Executive Director of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Secretary of the Department of Children and Families, the State Surgeon General and five members appointed by the CFO.
Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami-Dade State Attorney: Since 1993, Katherine Fernandez Rundle has served Miami-Dade County as State Attorney. Prior to that, she dedicated 15 years as an Assistant State Attorney. As legal counsel to the Dade County Grand Jury, she presented hundreds of murder and capital cases and oversaw the issuance of reports that initiated major reforms in the areas of juvenile justice and revision of the building code following Hurricane Andrew.
Sheriff Ric L. Bradshaw, Palm Beach County: Sheriff Bradshaw is a career law enforcement professional responsible for leading the largest law enforcement agency in Palm Beach County. Sheriff Bradshaw has a successful track record of 38 years in law enforcement, rising through the ranks of the City of West Palm Beach Police Department. He is the Chairman of the County's Domestic Security Task Force, a member of the Executive Board of the FBI's Joint Terrorist Task Force and has been designated Who's Who in Academic Excellence in America.
Sheriff David Gee, Hillsborough County: Sheriff Gee is a lifelong resident of Hillsborough County and has served his community for over 33 years. He leads the tenth largest suburban law enforcement agency in the nation. Sheriff Gee is the recipient of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Patriot Award, the Boys and Girls Clubs Community Hero Award, two Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Medals of Valor and was named “Sheriff of the Year” by the National Crisis Intervention Team.
Chadwick E. Wagner, Chief of Police, City of Hollywood: Chief Wagner, a native of South Florida, started his career with the Hollywood Police Department in 1983 following his service in the United States Army. He was named Chief in 2008. Chief Wagner has been awarded the U.S. Attorney General’s “Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer” award and the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers “Officer of the Year” award.
Juan Jesus Santana, Division Chief, Miami-Dade Police Department: Chief Santana is a veteran law enforcement officer with more than 28 years of experience. The past 15 years, he has specialized in commanding investigative units. Chief Santana has extensive experience with investigating criminal misconduct involving government and government officials.
The first meeting of the Medicaid and Public Assistance Fraud Strike Force will take place in Tallahassee at the end of this month.
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official and officer of the Florida Cabinet, oversees the Department of Financial Services including the Division of Insurance Fraud. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending.