This seems like a pretty big error, Williamson County will have to pay more for indigent care.
Williamson County made a $4 million miscalculation when it determined the maximum amount the state requires it to spend on indigent health care. But that will not change commissioners’ recent decision to eliminate coverage for people without legal Social Security cards, Commissioner Cynthia Long said.
“We believe we made the right decision for the taxpayers of Williamson County,” she said.
County auditors found out May 13 — after meeting with state officials — that the county is now required to spend up to $4.4 million more than it initially anticipated on its indigent health care program, said Julie Kiley , an assistant county auditor.
The state requires the county to spend up to 8 percent of its general tax revenue to provide health care for people who qualify for its indigent program. Once the county reaches the state-mandated cap, the state begins reimbursing the county for additional costs.
County officials initially thought the maximum the county could spend on the program for this budget year was $7.1 million. That amount has now increased to up to $11.5 million, Kiley said.
County officials did not know the revenue also was supposed to include money from the debt tax levy revenue fund, Kiley said. The revenue from that fund added about $50 million to the total revenue amount, she said.
Long said this week that the county is projecting it will spend double the amount it has budgeted for the indigent health care program. The county budgeted $4 million and appropriated $3.1 million more this spring, and it expects to reach $8 million by the end of the budget year in September, she said.
Commissioner Valerie Covey said the fact that the maximum the county is required to spend has increased is a separate issue from the county’s decision to cut coverage for adults and children without Social Security cards.
In other words the county has to spend $11.5 million dollars this fiscal year on indigent health care. It was originally calculated by “county officials” that the county had to spend $7.1 this year – $4.4 million more. As you may, or may not recall, a few weeks ago the county made a big deal out of cutting off indigent health care for anyone without a valid Social Security card. Saying it was needed to because money was running out to pay for indigent health care this year.
Now we find out they have a significant amount more money that must be spent on indigent health care. And the county, according to Commissioner Long, will not change it’s policy regarding those without a valid Social Security card. This leaves two questions. Who are they going to spend this miscalculated $4.4 million for indigent health care on? Obviously it’s much cheaper, not to mention humane, to treat these people at a doctor’s office when they first get sick, as opposed making their only option the emergency room. The second question is who are these “county officials” that made this “miscalculation”?