VENTURA COUNTY: Faces Audit, Officials Plea For Leniency
Ventura County officials confirmed yesterday that the federal government will perform an audit to see if the county needs to repay millions of dollars in federal reimbursements. At stake could be as much as $15 million the county received from the federal government during the brief time its Behavioral Health Department and Public Social Services Agency were merged into one superagency. The Los Angeles Times reports that the audit "is expected to begin by the end of the month and will be performed by the Health Care Financing Administration in San Francisco." County Supervisor John Flynn, "denied" that the audit "is a danger sign for the county." He said, "It's not such an unusual thing. Any time you get federal funding, you're going to get a federal auditor. It's routine." But "[h]oping to head off the possibility that the county could be forced to repay" the reimbursements, "a contingent of local officials" -- including county Chief Administrative Officer Lin Koester, Health Care Agency Director Pierre Durand, County Counsel Jim McBride and an attorney from Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, the firm the county hired to work on the merger -- "is flying to San Francisco today to try to persuade the government not to demand the money," the Times reports (Johnson, 1/13).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.