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Medicaid billing dispute between state and counties heats up

A fight between Florida Counties and the state over who should pay outstanding medical bills for low-income people continues. Lee County is asking an administrative law judge to settle a dispute between it and the Agency for Healthcare Administration over how much it owes.

Lee County’s claims against the state centers on an April bill for more than $338,000.  The county says it should have gotten a 15 percent discount that wasn’t applied.

Under the state’s new Medicaid billing law, counties can choose to pay their outstanding bills at a discounted rate, or pay 100-percent of the bill and then sue the state over the incorrect charges. If counties don’t obey the law, they stand to lose a portion of the revenue earned from half-cent sales tax funds. 

Lee County’s claim is part a larger fight over unpaid county Medicaid bills worth an estimated $300 million. The counties are charged for a portion of Medicaid costs for residents in hospitals and nursing homes. But the counties argue the state agency that oversees the program has made a series of errors resulting in duplicate or incorrect charges.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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