QUEENSBURY — Warren County’s hopes to recover $550,000 for unpaid bills at the former county nursing home looked dim this week after county officials learned that no firm could be found to try to get the money.
The funds were believed to be owed by the state as Medicaid reimbursement for Medicaid-eligible residents of Westmount Health Facility for part of 2013. The bills were initially rejected by the state because of apparent billing errors and were supposed to be resubmitted for reconsideration but that was not done amid leadership shakeups at the home.
County supervisors learned of the oversight in June and sought to hire a law firm or accounting expert who could resubmit the bills.
The county published a request for proposals that sought a contractor that would be paid a percentage of what was recovered, but county Treasurer Michael Swan said no one formally responded to the RFP.
“Some expressed interest, but no one responded,” he said.
Swan said the county’s auditor wants to have the money “written off” for bookkeeping purposes, but that doesn’t mean the county will give up on trying to get the funds.
In light of the lack of response from billing specialists, Swan said his office is looking at software options that would allow his staff to recover and resubmit the billing information to the state.
“Even if we write it off, we’re not giving up on this,” he said.
County leaders said it was unclear what happened and why the bills weren’t resubmitted as they should have been after the 2013 rejection. It was common for Medicaid reimbursement claims to be rejected but paid after they were resubmitted.
There was extensive turnover at Westmount in the years before it was sold in 2015, including in its finance office.
Officials said $250,000 is also due from Westmount residents who were “private pay,” and the county has found a law firm to try to collect those bills. That effort has included filing numerous lawsuits against the estates of former residents who died and whose families tried to evade the bills.