Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Medicaid bill for counties cut in half, though objections remain

TALLAHASSEE — The amount of money the state says counties owe for unpaid Medicaid bills has been cut nearly in half.

New calculations from the Agency for Health Care Administration say Florida's 67 counties now owe $168 million to help cover Medicaid costs. That's down from $325.5 million.

Counties will be asked to settle their debts over five years starting in October. They could also chose to file an appeal in administrative court.

The news is better for some counties than others. As part of the revised estimates, 10 counties — though none in Tampa Bay — went from owing money to being owed money.

Pinellas County's share of the costs dropped from $28.3 million to $17.9 million, and Hillsborough County now owes $9.4 million, down from an initial $21.1 million.

In Hernando County, the bill dropped from $3.4 million to $1.6 million while Pasco County's bill decreased from $4.3 million to $4.1 million.

The Legislature ordered the state to begin collecting unpaid bills as part of its plan to balance the state budget in 2012.

After counties objected, saying the bills were the result of a faulty billing system and that counties would have to raise taxes, Gov. Rick Scott said counties would only have to pay what could be proven they owed.

The Florida Association of Counties is still suing over the unpaid Medicaid bills, claiming they represent an "unfunded mandate."

The suit also alleges that the backlog calculations include bills that are outside the four-year statute of limitations.

Some counties say the final bill remains wrong.

St. Johns County, for instance, says it owes nothing. The state says it owes $763,268.

"I'm not really happy about the process; they've changed the criteria all the way around," St. Johns County assistant administrator Jerry Cameron said. "The outcome of this appears not to be governed by the governor's promise" that counties only have to pay what is proven.

Medicaid is a health insurance program mainly for low-income families and the disabled paid for by a mix of federal, state and local dollars. More than 3 million Floridians participate in Medicaid at a cost of about $20 billion annually.

Tia Mitchell can be reached at tmitchell@tampabay.com or (850) 224-7263.

Medicaid bill for counties cut in half, though objections remain 08/02/12 [Last modified: Thursday, August 2, 2012 10:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Encounters: Trial by storm for a rookie principal

    K12

    DUNEDIN — When he nodded off to sleep, the hallway lights outside Michael Vasallo's office were on, so the sudden darkness woke him.

    The glow of his desk phone dimmed.

    Michael Vasallo, right, the first-year principal at Dunedin Highland Middle School, talks with the school's head plant operator Clint Case near the back-up generator on campus. The generator failed just as Hurricane Irma passed through Pinellas County, making for a stressful night. The experience made Vasallo long to return to his regular job, educating middle schoolers. [COLEEN WRIGHT   |   Times]


  2. Who is in charge during a hurricane? Hillsborough County and Tampa still can't agree

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Who has the authority to order an evacuation during a hurricane?

    Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he has evacuation authority.
  3. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31

    Blogs

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  4. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win

    Blogs

    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  5. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.