Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) March 14, 2015 – A Florida Hospital Association survey has found that 95 percent of its member hospitals are waiting for around $134 million in outstanding payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The 30,000 outstanding claims are for medical services the state’s hospitals provided to veterans who faced long wait times at VA health care facilities or lived too far away from them. According to the association, around 6,000 of the unpaid claims have been delayed for over two years. In October 2015, VA Secretary Robert McDonald received a letter from 12 Florida Congress members demanding an explanation about the unpaid bills.
“If outside doctors are not paid by the VA, veterans ultimately risk losing access to other options for health care,” said David Magann, a Florida veterans attorney. “The delayed payments could hamper the VA’s efforts to overhaul its health care system which has been plagued by various scandals, such as long wait times for patients at VA hospitals.”
Mary Kay Hollingsworth, the VA statewide health care network’s communications manager, claimed the VA has done an adequate job of paying Florida hospitals on time. State hospitals have received nearly $500 million in claims payments from the VA so far. However, she noted there will always be a balance of unpaid claims.
While around 80 percent of claims are processed within 30 days for authorized treatment, the other 20 percent of claims from non-VA doctors and hospitals can be delayed. Hollingsworth attributed the delays to reasons such as lack of documentation or denial due to ineligibility.
The Veterans Choice program allows veterans to see private doctors outside the VA and is designed to help decrease appointment wait times. The program is run by Health Net, which is known to require excessive documentation. Health Net released a statement agreeing with the VA’s calls for a simpler payment process in order to reduce errors and delays. The provider said, “Waiting six months for a claim to be processed is not what Health Net wants for doctors and we apologize to any who may have experienced this kind of wait.”
Learn more at http://www.tampaveteranslawyer.com/
David W. Magann, P.A.
156 W. Robertson St.
Brandon, FL 33511
Call: (813) 657-9175
4012 Gunn Highway #165
Tampa, Florida 33618
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