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Pine County Refuses to Reimburse $47,639 to MN DHS

"Don't expect our check" is how Pine County Commissioner Steve Hallan responded to a letter from the Minnesota Department of Human Services asking the county to repay the agency $47,639.59.

Currently, the DHS is asking for 8.8 million from Minnesota counties for the overpayment of chemical dependency treatment services between the years 2014 and 2018 which were discovered by the agency this year.

Pine County received the letter from DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead on November 18 asking for the money so the State can repay what federal funds it used.

In the letter, Commissioner Harpstead outlined the problem, stating, "From January 2014 through May 2019, the state used federal Medicaid funds to pay for substance use disorder treatment in IMD [Institutes of Mental Disease] settings. Federal law requires us to reimburse the federal government for their share of those payments. As a result, DHS underestimated the county share for these payments and state law requires us to collect the additional share of the cost from counties."

During a Tuesday, December 17 meeting, the Pine County Board authorized a letter contesting the letter they received from the DHS.

"It wasn't our county's mistakes that were made," said Commissioner Hallan. He then went onto say, "I would direct whoever was to write that letter to say, 'don't expect our check.'"

Pine County isn't the only one saying no to the DHS. According to a story published by MPR News, both St. Louis County and Hennepin County have also refused to consider the repayment.

The Association of Minnesota Counties has requested that counties to hold off making any payments until the upcoming 2020 legislative session - As they believe that this may require a legislative fix.

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