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256.983 FRAUD PREVENTION INVESTIGATIONS.

Subdivision 1.Programs established.

Within the limits of available appropriations, the commissioner of human services shall require the maintenance of budget neutral fraud prevention investigation programs in the counties participating in the fraud prevention investigation project established under this section. If funds are sufficient, the commissioner may also extend fraud prevention investigation programs to other counties provided the expansion is budget neutral to the state. Under any expansion, the commissioner has the final authority in decisions regarding the creation and realignment of individual county or regional operations.

Subd. 2.County proposals.

Each participating county agency shall develop and submit an annual staffing and funding proposal to the commissioner no later than April 30 of each year. Each proposal shall include, but not be limited to, the staffing and funding of the fraud prevention investigation program, a job description for investigators involved in the fraud prevention investigation program, and the organizational structure of the county agency unit, training programs for case workers, and the operational requirements which may be directed by the commissioner. The proposal shall be approved, to include any changes directed or negotiated by the commissioner, no later than June 30 of each year.

Subd. 3.Department responsibilities.

The commissioner shall establish training programs which shall be attended by all investigative and supervisory staff of the involved county agencies. The commissioner shall also develop the necessary operational guidelines, forms, and reporting mechanisms, which shall be used by the involved county agencies. An individual's application or redetermination form for public assistance benefits, including child care assistance programs and medical care programs, must include an authorization for release by the individual to obtain documentation for any information on that form which is involved in a fraud prevention investigation. The authorization for release is effective for six months after public assistance benefits have ceased.

Subd. 4.Funding.

(a) County agency reimbursement shall be made through the settlement provisions applicable to the food stamp or food support program, MFIP, child care assistance programs, the medical assistance program, and other federal and state-funded programs.

(b) The commissioner will maintain program compliance if for any three consecutive month period, a county agency fails to comply with fraud prevention investigation program guidelines, or fails to meet the cost-effectiveness standards developed by the commissioner. This result is contingent on the commissioner providing written notice, including an offer of technical assistance, within 30 days of the end of the third or subsequent month of noncompliance. The county agency shall be required to submit a corrective action plan to the commissioner within 30 days of receipt of a notice of noncompliance. Failure to submit a corrective action plan or, continued deviation from standards of more than ten percent after submission of a corrective action plan, will result in denial of funding for each subsequent month, or billing the county agency for fraud prevention investigation (FPI) service provided by the commissioner, or reallocation of program grant funds, or investigative resources, or both, to other counties. The denial of funding shall apply to the general settlement received by the county agency on a quarterly basis and shall not reduce the grant amount applicable to the FPI project.

Subd. 5.Child care providers; financial misconduct.

(a) A county or tribal agency may conduct investigations of financial misconduct by child care providers as described in chapter 245E. Prior to opening an investigation, a county or tribal agency must contact the commissioner to determine whether an investigation under this chapter may compromise an ongoing investigation.

(b) If, upon investigation, a preponderance of evidence shows a provider committed an intentional program violation, intentionally gave the county or tribe materially false information on the provider's billing forms, provided false attendance records to a county, tribe, or the commissioner, or committed financial misconduct as described in section 245E.01, subdivision 8, the county or tribal agency may suspend a provider's payment pursuant to chapter 245E, or deny or revoke a provider's authorization pursuant to section 119B.13, subdivision 6, paragraph (d), clause (2), prior to pursuing other available remedies. The county must send notice in accordance with the requirements of section 119B.161, subdivision 2. If a provider's payment is suspended under this section, the payment suspension shall remain in effect until: (1) the commissioner, county, or a law enforcement authority determines that there is insufficient evidence warranting the action and a county, tribe, or the commissioner does not pursue an additional administrative remedy under chapter 119B or 245E, or section 256.046 or 256.98; or (2) all criminal, civil, and administrative proceedings related to the provider's alleged misconduct conclude and any appeal rights are exhausted.

(c) For the purposes of this section, an intentional program violation includes intentionally making false or misleading statements; intentionally misrepresenting, concealing, or withholding facts; and repeatedly and intentionally violating program regulations under chapters 119B and 245E.

(d) A provider has the right to administrative review under section 119B.161 if: (1) payment is suspended under chapter 245E; or (2) the provider's authorization was denied or revoked under section 119B.13, subdivision 6, paragraph (d), clause (2).

[See Note.]

NOTE: Subdivision 5, as added by Laws 2019, First Special Session chapter 9, article 2, section 110, is effective February 26, 2021. Laws 2019, First Special Session chapter 9, article 2, section 110, the effective date.