Covering Louisiana

May 7, 2014 7:28 AM by associated press

La. loses appeal in Medicaid overpayment case

Louisiana's latest attempt to avoid repaying hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid overpayments dating back to the mid-1990s has been rejected by a federal appeals court At issue in a Tuesday ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is $240 million in Medicaid money the state received for its charity hospitals from 1996 to 2006.

According to the ruling, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said audits showed that nine public hospitals had received hundreds of millions of dollars in excess payments. The state had disputed the agency's findings but lost in appeals to the agency and at the district court level.

Department of Health and Hospitals spokeswoman Olivia Watkins, in an emailed statement, said the ruling was not a surprise.

"The Department already completed repayment of these funds to the federal government in March 2012," she said. Watkins said the disallowance "was very limited in scope and dealt specifically with recoupment of funds that were overpaid to the LSU hospitals at the end of each fiscal year. DHH now recoups any funds overpaid to Louisiana hospitals for uncompensated care." The department will not appeal, she said.

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