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Archive for Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Deferrals state owes federal government may exceed $80 million

January 19, 2005

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— State officials Tuesday warned that the federal government could reduce health care funds for low-income Kansans by more than $80 million in future appropriations.

The reductions could come in the form of so-called deferrals, arising from audits done by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on ways that the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services has drawn down matching federal Medicaid dollars.

"It is a significant amount of money," said Gary Daniels, acting SRS secretary.

Daniels said that so far, federal auditors have said they will defer $45 million from Kansas, and an additional $40 million is in dispute. He said the questioned expenses came in Medicaid dollars spent on child welfare programs. Officials have said the audits have covered spending during the administrations of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and former Gov. Bill Graves.

Negotiations continue with federal officials on the final dollar amount, SRS officials said. States across the nation are facing similar audits, prompting governors and congressional delegations to band together to fight the federal government on the issue.

Daniels said the CMS had consented to some of the state's draw-down methods that the agency is now questioning.

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