Pennsylvania: Heatlh Agency Tries to Avoid Breakdown : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Headline: Area Agency Tries to Avoid Breakdown; Capital Region System Replaces Director, Seeks to Upgrade Billing

Source: The Patriot-News [Harrisburg, Pennsylvania], 10 Sept 2000

Note: September 1999 mentioned at end of this excerptY2K fixes gone awry, anyone???

Education and Fair Use EXCERPTS (sorry, I have no link, this is hand-typed):

The regions most prominent health system for the poor, rocked by a financial crisis that forced layoffs and program cuts, has launched a major restructuring to save itself from collapse

Though health-system officials previously blamed the financial crunch on the loss in $1 million in revenue from the forced sale of its Medicaid HMO, Healthmate, they now acknowledge that billing errors totaling about $225,000, coupled with the failure of administrators to respond appropriately, contributed to the crisis.

Health system officials say the computerized billing system was inadequate, and that office staff was poorly trained

It was simply a case of bad operating systems, [said Harrisburg mayor Reed] There wasnt a whole lot of attention being paid to the consequences

Signs of cracking in the health systems financial status surfaced in June when officials announced the closing of school-based health clinics in uptown and south Harrisburg[the system also laid off 20 employees, including some medical staff, and reduced hours] 

Things were sailing along fine as far as we knew, [said Chairwoman Payne]. Then we started hearing about glitches in the billing system and things not coded right, and it soon became clear to us that it was more of a problem than we had initially been led to understand.

It was a dire situation, [said former board member Peterson]. Weve already closed clinics, already downsized, and we may have to do more.

Some relief is in sight. The state Department of Public Welfare, which administers the joint federal and state Medicaid program, has agreed to allow the health system to resubmit $200,000 in unpaid claims dating to September 1999a one time act of mercy [said a department spokeswoman]

-- Andre Weltman (, September 11, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ