Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco gets small break in big Medicaid bill

According to new calculations from Florida's health care agency, the amount of unpaid Medicaid bills owed by counties has been cut nearly in half. That's good news for many counties that had been hit with unexpected big charges.

But Pasco County wasn't so lucky. Earlier, it was tagged with nearly $4.3 million in unpaid bills. The state trimmed that figure by about $200,000, meaning the county must still come up with $4 million.

For comparison, Hillsborough's share dropped from $21 million to $9.4 million, and the total for Pinellas went from $28.3 million to $17.9 million.

"Some counties got large amounts of Medicaid dollars written off," County Attorney Jeff Steinsnyder said at a recent County Commission meeting. "We were not so fortunate."

So why didn't Pasco fare better?

Many of the disputed bills stem from out-of-county residents who were treated in Pasco hospitals. The state wrongly billed Pasco for those services. Such payments were deducted from Pasco's share.

But the reverse also happened. Many Pasco residents were treated in neighboring counties like Pinellas or Hillsborough. Once those payments were sorted out, they were added to Pasco's total.

Assistant County Administrator Heather Grimes said she believes officials have accepted the revised figures as accurate.

That means Pasco won't see much budget relief as it also deals with property values that dropped by nearly 6 percent. Commissioners had tentatively agreed to an increased property tax rate that would bring in the same amount of taxes as the current year. But they had held out hope that the Medicaid bill would be reduced, allowing them to lower the rate increase.

This spring, the Legislature ordered the state to begin collecting unpaid bills as part of its plan to balance the state budget.

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."

Counties have five years to settle the unpaid bills. But Pasco must also begin setting aside more money for future years. The proposed county budget had earlier included an extra $4.3 million for Medicaid billing, though that figure will go down slightly. That covers both the first year's payment of back charges and higher bills for next year.

Lee Logan can be reached at or (727) 869-6236.

Pasco gets small break in big Medicaid bill 08/03/12 [Last modified: Friday, August 3, 2012 8:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Nearly 40 hospitalized on first day Sunset Music Festival, on pace to exceed last year


    To reduce the number of medical emergencies this year, sponsors of the Sunset Music Festival promised heightened security and safety measures during this weekend's event at Raymond James Stadium.

    Thousands of people crowd the main stage at the Sunset Music Festival on the grounds of the Raymond James Stadium parking lot in Tampa. Temperature at the time of this photo was 92F [Saturday, May 28, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  2. Woman killed in overnight Temple Terrace apartment fire, city says


    TEMPLE TERRACE — A woman died early Sunday as a result of a fire at an apartment complex, city officials said.

  3. Video: Indianapolis 500 drivers in fiery crash somehow walk away uninjured

    Auto racing

    Scott Dixon and Jay Howard avoided injury in a spectacular crash - or what Dixon labeled "a wild ride" afterward - during the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.

  4. Homeland security chief defends Kushner's alleged proposal for 'back channel' to the Russians as 'a good thing"


    Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, the lone administration official to speak out publicly about reports that Jared Kushner sought a back channel to communicate with the Russian government, defended the move, saying it was a "good thing" for the U.S. government.

    Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, listens during a meeting with small business leaders at the White House on Jan. 30. [Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford]
  5. After hard charging on health care in 2016, Marco Rubio is slow, careful


    As a presidential candidate, Marco Rubio pitched an Obamacare replacement and tore into Donald Trump for not having one. "What is your plan? What is your plan on health care? You don't have a plan," the Florida senator aggressively challenged in a February 2016 debate.