New state position to investigate fraud, spending on human servicesby Dan Olson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — State officials are expanding efforts to detect fraud and recover money improperly spent on human services.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services announced Thursday the creation of an office of inspector general. DHS veteran Jerry Kerber was named to lead the 150-person team. The agency will examine the nearly $11 billion the agency spends annually on various human service programs, Kerber said.
"The ultimate goal is the reduction of fraud and misuse," Kerber said. "And so criminal prosecution and the awareness of other providers of criminal prosecution hopefully will have the impact of reducing the likelihood of fraud and abuse.
It's estimated that fraud and mispent money for human services range from 4 to 10 percent, Kerber said. He says his office will examine payments in nine programs including the largest, Medicaid, and others such as child care assistance and food security.
The new office will work with the state attorney general, county attorneys and federal officials in fraud detection.
Kerber is a 31-year veteran of the department, and has led the DHS licensing division for more than 15 years.