LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Florida counties could spend an additional $155 million taking care of medicaid patients in hospitals under newly approved legislation.
Lee County stands to see its costs go up by $2 million. Charlotte would have to pay nearly half a million.
Counties are asking Governor Rick Scott to veto the bill. Florida counties pay a portion of lengthy hospital stays and nursing home care for low income people receiving Medicaid.
Legislation approved in the just concluded 2012 session would change how the state bills the counties. The counties have written Governor Rick Scott, asking for a veto They say they are not being allowed to challenge billing errors. In their letter they say it is like not allowing their taxpayers to question errors in a credit card bill.
Statewide, the cost shift to local taxpayers could be as much as 155 million dollars a year.
As correspondent Mike Vasilinda reports, the counties say the bills are rife with errors, including being billed for out-of-state patients and even being billed for the same patient 15 times.
But Lawmakers pushing the change want counties to pay up first and argue later.
Some of the billing disputes go back at least four years, to the time the current billing system was implemented.
Florida is one of the few states in the nation to shift medicaid costs to local governments.