Utah's Medicaid inspector general arrested for alleged public intoxication

Published: Monday, April 16 2012 6:20 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's first Medicaid inspector general was recently arrested in South Carolina for investigation of public intoxication.

Lee Wyckoff, 35, was found by a police officer in Columbia, "stumbling in traffic" at 1 a.m. on April 4, according to a police report filed there. He also "had a high odor of alcohol about his breath and person, was stumbling and had to be held up by the reporting officer," the report states.

The report indicated that Wyckoff could only give his first name to the officer, along with very loud expletives. He was taken to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center "for his safety and for that of the general public."

Wyckoff, who carries a Colorado driver's license, was hired in August after Utah lawmakers established the Office of Inspector General of Medicaid Services during the 2011 legislative session. He is the first to hold the position, which was created provide additional oversight on Medicaid funds.

In 2010, a legislative audit revealed that local clinics were over-billing Medicaid, due to the up-coding of various procedures to get more money for the service. Nearly 99 percent of the claims auditors surveyed were incorrectly coded. State officials believe more than $20 million could be saved by keeping a closer watch on the agency's funds.

Medicaid provides health care coverage to more than 260,000 Utahns, some of whom are low-income. Wyckoff, who came to Utah from Vail, Colo., has a staff of more than 20 investigators and is charged with uncovering fraudulent claims, among other duties outlined in HB84. He is paid $104,582 annually.

Wyckoff reports to the governor's Office of Planning and Budget, which oversees funding for Medicaid and other state agencies. Director Ron Bigelow said Monday that he is looking into the South Carolina incident.

"This issue has only recently come to our attention. Additional information is being gathered and we will allow the proper legal and human resource processes to advance," Bigelow said in a prepared statement. "If action is needed, we will take action."

Wyckoff earned an accounting degree from Baltimore's Towson University and a master's degree in engineering and information technology from Johns Hopkins University. Before taking the post in Utah, he had previously worked in the private insurance industry and as an internal auditor for Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in Denver.

He is scheduled to appear in Columbia Municipal Court on May 23.

E-mail: wleonard@desnews.com Twitter: wendyleonards

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