Medicaid Bills Forgiveness Good News for Panhandle Counties

By: Bergen Baucom
By: Bergen Baucom

Jackson County, FL - A number of Florida counties caught a break on their budgets Wednesday. The state forgave millions of dollars counties owed in old medicaid payments. The good news came to the tune of nearly half a million dollars worth of savings for Jackson County.

"Certainly the citizens are going to be impacted" Jackson County Administrator, Ted Lakey told us. "That's a half a million dollars we can put into other services. We are a million dollars short in the general revenue side of it. So you can see right there, that can go a long way to helping correct that" he said.

The stroke of luck came after the state discovered a billing error occurred during the process of changing their computer system.

"From the get go we felt that a lot of the bills were incorrect. We are happy that they have confirmed that to be the fact, that there are a lot of incorrect bills" Lakey said.

The original bill was around $723,000. The county had been challenging the state on the tab claiming the number was inaccurate. Jackson County, among others, is facing a deficit in the upcoming fiscal year. Commissioners told us, the relief couldn't have come at a better time.

"We're in our budget hearings now, and that's a number possibly we can plug in to help defer some of the deficit" Lakey explained.

He told us the board hadn't determined as of Thursday what areas of the budget would be most impacted by the savings. But, even with the boost, the county would still have to trim the fat.

"They are a frugal body- our board is frugal. They are going line item by line item looking for ways to cut back" Lackey said.

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