Based on past cases that the two have unearthed from time to time, the city suspects abuse both by health care providers — including double-billing, "upcoding" for more expensive procedures and billing for unneeded care — and fraud by employees.
Examples of latter include listing unqualified dependents on city policies, failure to remove ex spouses and "doctor shopping" for physicians who will provide unneeded services.
"The goal of the task force is to develop new and innovative strategies to recover what we believe is millions of dollars a year in wasteful spending," Mr. Ahmad told me, noting that the city spends about $400 million a year on employee health coverage.
Specific lines of investigation are drawn from specific abuses the city already has uncovered, he said. Mr. Ahmad would not detail them, citing privacy laws, but said "every one" of the types of abuse I mentioned above have occurred here.
Also serving on the task force will be Blues Vice President J. Todd Phillips and three or four other officials from both sides to be named later.
"While fraud is, fortunately, an outlier behavior, it does put significant burdens on the healthcare system," said Blues President Karen Atwood, in a statement. "We'll work together to root out wasteful spending and help meet the city's fiscal responsibilities.
The task force is scheduled to begin meeting right after Labor Day, and issue at least its initial work in a quarter or so.
Follow Greg on Twitter at @GregHinz.