More than $3 billion was either saved or recovered through efforts to curtail waste and fraud in the state's Medicaid program last year, Acting Medicaid Inspector General Frank Walsh on Monday said. 

Provider audits and investigations found $714 million in savings, Walsh said. Efforts to avoid unnecessary costs such as inappropriate billings resulted in more than $2.4 billion in savings. All told, the last four years have found a combined $11.8 billion in cost-saving efforts and recoveries of funds. 

The state's Medicaid program is the costliest in the country and the largest item in the state. It's a frequent target for finding ways of reducing or slowing the rate of growth in the state's $200 billion-plus budget 

“In 2021, OMIG fulfilled its mission to protect the integrity of the Medicaid program by generating nearly $3.2 billion in Medicaid recoveries and cost savings that are critical to sustaining New York’s health care delivery system," Walsh said. "At the same time, the agency continued to adapt procedures to avoid imposing burdens on health care providers and recipients and maintain access to essential health services."