VENTURA COUNTY: Board Refuses to Pay Behavioral Health Audit Costs
Ventura County supervisors Tuesday refused to take responsibility for a $385,000 bill, arguing that the Behavioral Health Department should find the money in its budget, the Ventura County Star reports. Behavioral Health Director David Gudeman had asked that the county allocate the sum from its general fund, but supervisors voted unanimously to deny the request. "These are one-time costs that were not budgeted and are necessary to meet requirements of investigations by HCFA, the state Mental Health Department and the U.S. Attorney's Office," Gudeman said. The outstanding bill in question -- which is owed to a private nursing registry that has helped the county get through a slew of audits -- is one of several unexpected bills that have resulted from the county's settlement with the federal goverment. An recent audit by the U.S. Attorney's Office found that the county had overbilled Medicare for the past 10 years. Although some board members "tersely" blamed the Behavioral Health Department for its financial woes, Supervisor John Flynn said, "Some of these problems were created by this board and are not totally the fault of the ... Department." Health Care Agency Director Pierre Durand, who has been sharing detailed accounting records with senior county financial officials every month since June, said that the supervisors are "personally responsible" for the Behavioral Health Department's money problems (Pyle, 12/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.