Clip files / Local news from the states

This column features selected short items about state health care policy.

Faulty billing cost: $56.3M MaineCare's problems persist

AUGUSTA, ME — The repair of the faulty billing system that processes Maine's Medicaid payments remains a protracted work in progress, along with the resolution of the considerable chaos it has created. State officials say the problematic computer system, which has wreaked havoc for health care providers and their bookkeepers since January 2005, is expected to be working correctly sometime in the summer of 2007, at an estimated total cost of more than $56.3 million in state and federal dollars. The original contracted cost for the new system was $21.6 million. More than 262,000 Mainers, almost a quarter of the state's population, are enrolled in MaineCare. According to Brenda Harvey, commissioner of Maine's Department of Health and Human Services, the computer system is currently processing correctly upwards of 90% of new claims from the thousands of doctors, dentists, therapists, home care providers, and others who provide services through MaineCare, as the state's Medicaid program is called. But that means that up to 10% of claims are not processed correctly, adding each week to the more than 180,000 claims that remain unresolved from earlier failures.

Bangor Daily News, 8/23/06