Hospitals Recover Funds

By: Stan Torgerson
By: Stan Torgerson

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George Dale, the state of Mississippi's Insurance Commissioner, came to Meridian Wednesday to distribute a portion of the money owed to Rush and Riley Hospitals by Mississippi Managed Care Network.

The bankrupt HMO was taken over by Dale's office in 2002. The state eventually recovered $2.2 million the firm owed to various hospitals.

"We are here dispersing the checks to these health care providers, who pretty well had written this off as a bad debt," said Dale. "And now they're receiving money to take off that debt that had been incurred against their institution."

Rush Hospital's share of the money is $52,000. Riley's check was for $71,000. Riley Hospital's chief operating officer, Eric Barber, said the money was unexpected.

"Actually, this check represents accounts that we had already written off as what we would consider charity care. Getting money back from that is kind of surprise for us and it's a welcome surprise, given the restraints hospitals are under these days for financial reimbursement," said Barber.

Rush Hospital vice-president Donnie Smith was equally pleased.

"We're a non-profit hospital and all of our money goes into the care and well being of people in Meridian and Lauderdale County," said Smith. "And so we'll use this money to apply to whatever expense we're incurring. All of our money goes into new services and things that are good for our patients and good for the community since we are
non-profit."

Dale SAID $500,000 of the recovered dollars were owed outright to the Mississippi Medicaid Commission.


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