HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Public Welfare has created an Office of Program Integrity to better coordinate efforts to stop welfare fraud, Secretary of Public Welfare Gary D. Alexander announced today.
"Preventing waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars is a top priority, and it is time for a culture change to instill and infuse integrity into the department's programs and services," said Alexander. "We have an obligation to the truly needy as well as to taxpayers. There is simply no room for any waste, fraud or abuse."
Since January, the department has reviewed all of its processes in order to enforce and tighten rules and regulations. It identified new opportunities for more efficient management reporting and deployed analytic tools to prevent wasteful and fraudulent payments across all welfare programs.
As a result of this work, more than 100,000 ineligible welfare cases – many involving clients who died or moved out of state -- have been eliminated from the rolls, saving taxpayers more than $34 million.
Created using existing staff and resources, the new Office of Program Integrity will consolidate all department-wide efforts into one office, integrating fraud-detection efforts, implementing fraud prevention initiatives and ensuring compliance, efficiency, and accountability.
"We are confident that the new office and its initiatives will not only help Pennsylvania, but also serve as a national model of best practices," said Alexander.
The Office of Program Integrity is directly linked to the Office of Inspector General, the agency responsible for investigating welfare fraud.
"The Office of Inspector General is glad to be a partner in this vital effort, recognizing that fraud prevention is as equally important to detection and prosecution," said Inspector General Kenya Mann Faulkner. "By taking steps to stop fraud before it starts, we can protect taxpayers' interests and ensure that scarce public resources remain available to eligible Pennsylvanians in need."
For more information, visit DPW online at www.dpw.state.pa.us.
Media contacts: Carey Miller or Anne Bale, 717-425-7606
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare