198 N.Y. Sex Offenders Got Viagra; Medicaid Paid

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Scores of convicted rapists and other high-risk sex offenders in New York have been getting Viagra paid by Medicaid for the last five years, the state’s comptroller said Sunday. Audits by Comptroller Alan Hevesi’s office showed that between January 2000 and March 2005, 198 sex offenders in New York received Medicaid-reimbursed Viagra after their convictions. Those included crimes against children as young as 2 years old, he said.

Hevesi asked Michael Leavitt, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in a letter Sunday to “take immediate action to ensure that sex offenders do not receive erectile dysfunction medication paid for by taxpayers.” According to Hevesi, the problem is an unintended consequence of a 1998 directive from federal officials telling states that Medicaid prescription programs must include Viagra. His office discovered that the state was helping sex offenders pay for Viagra by checking Medicaid pharmacy expenditures against the state’s sex offender registry. The same thing likely is happening in other states, officials indicated. New York’s two senators said Sunday the problem should be corrected.

Link: http://timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=363066&category=&BCCode=&newsdate=5/23/200

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