KY hospital hires former gov., gets $3.4M

Controversy has blown up over the $3.4 million in reimbursement for disputed Medicaid claims that an eastern Kentucky hospital received after hiring former Gov. Ernie Fletcher as a consultant. The hospital, Pikeville Medical Center, was the only hospital due to get such a settlement during the last days of the Fletcher administration, though a total of 45 hospitals put in claims for additional reimbursement. (Another hospital, Baptist Healthcare, did get a $12.8 million settlement earlier last year.) Gov. Fletcher's attorney has said that Fletcher was not involved in the decision, which was made by the state's Health and Family Services cabinet.

The dispute, which dates from 2004 and 2005, turns on the state's method for reimbursing hospitals during that period. By settling, however, the state essentially has left the federal government, which normally covers 70 percent of the Medicaid program's costs, on the hook. However, since the federal government has said it won't pay, the state now could be liable for up to $180 million in claims if the other 43 hospitals eventually win their cases.

To learn more about the reimbursement issue:
- read this piece from The Courier-Journal

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