The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday again increased the amount of money it is authorized to loan the struggling Maricopa Integrated Health System, raising the ceiling to $30 million.
This is the fourth time since November that the county has loaned its health system millions of dollars. The loans, including $5 million approved Tuesday, total $20 million so far from the county General Fund.
The money has been necessary to keep the system afloat as operating cash falls below required levels.
The loans have been requested as the county health system copes with a billing system in disarray since a broken computer software program failed to accurately process millions of dollars in medical claims.
Many providers were unpaid for months. Then the county started paying providers advances without knowing exactly what was owed, a practice that left county authorities unsure how deep the health system is in the red or the black.
Tom Manos, the county’s chief financial officer, said he’s hopeful Tuesday’s transfer will be the last. Consultants have begun billing improvements, and efforts to collect on overpaid advances to medical providers continue, both of which may generate more cash for the health system.
But in case the health system runs out of money again, the county needed to increase its loan authority again, Manos said.
"We don’t really know that well if we’ll have to send them money again," he said. "We’re looking toward next month."
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