Health Department owed money, cutting ties with Ky Spirit


Reporter- Lauren Adams
Photojournalist - Jason Thomason

MAYFIELD, KY-   Billing can sometimes be a hassle.  But at The Graves County Health Department it has become a nightmare.

"Here's a claim right here from August 23rd and it says no payment. The amount is 0.00. It actually makes you mad to see that, that we've been paid 0.00," Director Noel Coplen said Wednesday.

Coplen says there are plenty more zeros. His department, he says, is owed $80,000 from medicaid provider Kentucky Spirit.

The Purchase District Health Department which includes Ballard, Carlisle, Fulton, Hickman, and McCracken counties is owed $140,000.  The Marshall County Health Department is owed $76,000. 

Kentucky Spirit- an insurance company for Kentucky's medicaid population, entered into an agreement with the State Department of Health last November.

Now, the state has told local health departments, Kentucky Spirit is disputing language in the contract and refusing to pay up.

It is why Coplen who calls the situation 'frustrating' is cutting ties.  The Graves County Health Department will no longer accept Kentucky Spirit effective October 22nd.

"We want to keep our doors open, provide services but we have to have the money to operate."

A spokeman for Kentucky Spirit pointed out, in an email, the company did make a payment of $6.7 million in May. But local health departments say it is considered a 'bridge payment', more like a loan that is expected to be repaid.

Kentucky Spirit says they are awaiting a resolution and are dedicated to ensuring quality care for all their members.

Anyone with questions about the future of their care can contact their local health department.  Medicaid is having open enrollment until October 19th.  Anyone wishing to switch is asked to call Kentucky Medicaid at 845-446-1245.  No forms are required.