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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | Countywide

Health Care Agency Training Is on Time

May 03, 2000|MARGARET TALEV

Ventura County's Health Care Agency has met a six-month deadline to train its employees and doctors in Medicare billing and other hospital regulations, an agency official said Tuesday.

Deputy Director Mike Powers told the Board of Supervisors that 2,323 doctors, nurses, accountants, clerks and technicians have completed the training--between two and 10 hours each--required by a compliance agreement signed last November with the federal government. About 15 Ventura County Medical Center employees have yet to complete their training.

The agreement was part of the county's $15.3-million settlement over erroneous Medicare mental health billing submitted throughout the better part of the 1990s.

The cost of the training and related audits is about $1 million to date, Powers said, and will grow over the five-year duration of the compliance agreement. A new round of mandatory training will begin in the fall. The county plans to file a formal report to the federal government next week, updating officials on its progress under the compliance agreement.

In the meantime, the county has established a toll-free line for questions or complaints about health-care billing or other health-care related issues. Each call is given a tracking number and referred to officials, Powers said. The hotline has received just over a dozen calls, he said. The number is (888) 488-3146.

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