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County signs Medicaid agreement

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Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 06:06 PM
BROOKSVILLE -

County commissioners Tuesday opted to re-sign the intergovernmental transfer agreement with Hernando HMA to continue the existing Medicaid contract.

Commissioners were satisfied after getting assurances from Patrick Maloney, HMA market chief executive officer, that there would be no big impact for Hernando County.

"I'm very comfortable with all of it," County Commissioner John Druzbick said.

In 2011-12, Hernando entered into an agreement with the Florida Agency of Health Care Administration whereby Hernando would advance funds to AHCA on behalf of a participating hospital that serves Medicaid patients.

Locally, that includes HMA, which operates Brooksville and Spring Hill Regional hospitals.

The agreement helps the hospital because Hernando County can pay more than their required Medicaid payment share.

Maloney pushed for continuation of the contract, especially since his company was losing money from the abundance of Medicaid patients who enter the hospital.

For example, Maloney said one of every two mothers who deliver at Spring Hill Hospital is a Medicaid patient.

Counties pay a portion of Medicaid, a state-federal program that helps low-income people meet their health care costs.

Health and Human Services Manager Veda Ramirez said at a workshop Tuesday it cost Hernando County $2.8 million last year to fulfill its current agreement.

County Commission Chairman Wayne Dukes said the only reason the matter came to a workshop was because of Hernando's picking up the tab for transferring jail inmates to the hospital.

By law, Hernando County must pay those costs, but Dukes wondered if they could realize savings.

But that, he said, can be the subject of a future commission meeting.

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