ST. PAUL  (AP) -- Gov. Mark Dayton's administration is seeking number crunchers to find fraud and waste in state programs including the Medicaid health program for the poor.

Dayton's office said Tuesday that the Department of Administration is asking vendors to submit proposals to analyze data to help state agencies identify problems in areas ranging from health care to unemployment and taxes. His office says the approach also could make state management of assets such as buildings and vehicles more efficient.

The Democratic governor's announcement comes as legislative Republicans, too, are looking at using the analysis-heavy approach to identify fraud in Medicaid, called Medical Assistance in Minnesota.

Health and welfare spending bills in both chambers would require the Department of Human Services to use data crunching to find abnormal billing patterns and questionable payments.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)