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Monday, August 11, 2008

Insufficient Funds: Cameron County Unable to Pay Indigent Care Providers

Cameron County has accumulated debt from indigent care services rendered during FY 2006-07, according to an Aug. 1 Attorney General Opinion.

County auditors sought an opinion in February after indigent care service providers invoiced the county for $2,220,929.96 more than the county had anticipated to be paid without the use of future tax revenues.

The AG ruled:

"If the indigent health services invoices in excess of the amount budgeted by the county for such purposes constitute "debt" prohibited by article XI, section 7, the Cameron County Commissioners Court cannot ratify them; the Cameron County Auditor is prohibited from approving the claims; and the Cameron County Commissioners Court is not authorized to direct their payment."

What does this mean, folks?

There are going to be some very unhappy medical providers out there after they realize their services will likely have become pro-bono, including Valley Baptist Medical Centers in Brownsville and Harlingen.

So what's next?

Cameron County Commissioners' Court will confer will legal counsel in executive session at Tuesday's regular meeting. They will discuss the AG Opinion, and perhaps its next plan of action.

*Note: The opinion request is dated February 1, 2007, but the Opinion Committee stamped it received Feb. 4, 2008.


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