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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Regional
Review / DEVELOPMENTS IN ORANGE, RIVERSIDE, SAN BERNARDINO
AND VENTURA COUNTIES

Clinics Found at Risk of Losing U.S. Funds

May 11, 1999

Ventura County's 43 public health clinics are not complying with federal Medicare billing guidelines, putting the county at risk of losing millions of dollars in reimbursement money, officials said Monday.

County health administrators have a June 30 deadline to bring the clinics into compliance or face a possible reduction in funding, said Emery G. Lee, a billing specialist for the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration in San Francisco.

The agency concluded that 22 county medical and 21 mental health clinics do not comply with billing guidelines revised three years ago.

The county contends that the clinics are outpatient satellites of the Ventura County Medical Center, a designation that entitles the county to higher Medicare payments. However, federal officials say that many of the clinics operate independently of the medical center and should not be billing Medicare at the higher rate.

County Counsel James McBride said he believes the county will be able to show federal officials that the clinics are operating within guidelines.

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