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Counties sue state over Medicaid billing dispute

The Florida Association of Counties filed an anticipated lawsuit in circuit court today on behalf of 47 counties challenging the state’s new Medicaid billing system. The counties are accusing the state of creating an unfunded mandate by withholding revenue sharing dollars to cover future Medicaid costs, as well as a disputed payment backlog.

“This suit does not challenge whether counties should participate with the State in making its Medicaid payments,” the association said in a statement on its website. “That policy decision was made long ago. Rather, counties want to pay their fair and accurate share of the Medicaid bills on behalf of their residents, which they have been prevented from doing because of a State billing system plagued with rampant errors.”

Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Broward, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties are among the 47 named in the suit. The Florida Department of Revenue, which collects tax revenue, and the Agency for Health Care Administration, which oversees the Medicaid program, are named as defendants.

Gov. Rick Scott signed HB 5301 into law on March 29. Only a portion of the bill contains language disputed by the counties.

Acknowledging the controversy, Scott directed AHCA to meet with each county individually and said none would be forced to pay money unless both sides agree it is owed. But counties said there is too much uncertaintly about how the process would unfold and no guarantees that they still won't be left on the hook for millions in disputed payments.

Read a copy of the suit here.