VENTURA COUNTY: Stretches Medicare Fraud Payments Over 5 Years
The Ventura County Board of Supervisors yesterday approved a plan to "take two extra years to pay off the $15.3 million settlement stemming from the federal government's audit of the county's Medicare billing practices going back nearly a decade," the Los Angeles Times reports. Although the deal with the U.S. attorney's office will force the county to pay an additional $300,000 in interest over the next five years, "officials say [it] makes good financial sense." The annual payment will drop from $5.1 million to $3.12 million with a variable interest rate of 4.5% to 7.3%. Supervisor John Flynn said, "It's the first good news we've had in a long while. We're not completely out of the woods, but we're beginning to see the light." County Auditor/Controller Thomas Mahon is drafting a proposal to absorb the debt, as supervisors determine "which funds to dip into to make the payments." Some officials, meanwhile, question whether the five-year plan will enable the county to keep programs afloat, such as aiding the homeless and building a new juvenile hall (8/25).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.