Posted on July 7, 2014 at 1:29 PM
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Louisiana's health department made nearly $2.7 million in Medicaid payments for state prisoners, who are not eligible for the benefits, according to a state audit.
The audit, released Monday, says the monthly Bayou Health and Louisiana Behavioral Health Program payments were made for 2,644 inmates over the 23 months ending Dec. 31, 2013.
The Department of Health and Hospitals pays a monthly fee for each participant to the contractors which run the two programs. About 27 percent of the payments were for participants who were incarcerated before the programs began, the auditors wrote.
They said Magellan Health Services got $465,000 in Louisiana Behavioral Health Partnership administrative fees for inmates, and the five Bayou Health contractors got $2.2 million in monthly payments similar to insurance premiums.
The department expects to get back all of the money by the end of August, state Medicaid director J. Ruth Kennedy wrote in a response filed with the audit dated July 2.
She said the Department of Health and Hospitals has been getting a weekly file of prison inmates from the Department of Corrections since last September, and uses that information to remove inmates from both plans.
Medicaid money can be used for state inmates only if they are inpatients in a facility such as a hospital, nursing home, juvenile psychiatric facility or intermediate care facility.