An audit of New York state’s Medicaid program has found that more than $63,000 was paid out on sexual and erectile dysfunction drugs for registered sex offenders over a period of six years.
The audit found that Medicaid had made improper payments of $933,594 for “drugs, procedures, and supplies” to treat erectile dysfunction between 2012 and 2018, which is illegal under state and federal laws. “There are clear rules about what conditions Medicaid will cover when it comes to erectile dysfunction drugs,” state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a statement.
Of the 47 sex offenders who’d received the treatments, 30 of them were classified as “level-2” or “level-3” offenders. Risk of reoffending is determined as “moderate” for level-2 offenders and “high” for level-3 offenders.
DiNapoli said the problem of Medicaid being used to treat sexual dysfunction issues had been identified by the comptroller’s office in 2005, when it found that Medicaid had paid for Viagra for 198 recipients who were classified as level-3 sex offenders. That review sparked an overhaul and led to reforms in the system on both a national and state level, but the latest audit confirms the problem persists.
In a response to the audit, the state’s Department of Health dismissed the findings, arguing that the drugs in question “can also be used to treat other indications” including hypertension and enlarged prostates. The department claims less than $8,000 of the figure was questionable, out of a $60 billion state program.
DiNapoli rejected the response, however, saying in many cases recipients had no other relevant diagnosis.