2 Alaska Health Care Companies Sue The Federal Government For Millions Of Dollars In Unpaid Bills

2 Alaska Health Care Companies Sue The Federal Government For Millions Of Dollars In Unpaid Bills

It is being claimed that the federal government owes two large Alaskan tribal healthcare companies tens of millions of dollars in unpaid funds.

Suits were sent to Alaska’s U.S. District Court on Thursday and Friday, respectively, by the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. Both of them blame the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Xavier Becerra, who is its head.

The company’s lawyer says in the YKHC lawsuit that Becerra and his department owe almost $26 million in unpaid contract support costs from fiscal year 2016. The lawsuit says that these costs could include indirect administrative or overhead costs, costs for managing money, or other costs that come up over and over again, such as worker’s compensation insurance.

The SEARHC lawsuit was filed on the last day that the consortium could go to court over its eight-year disagreement. It asks DHHS for $8 million in unpaid costs. The costs were paid for by tribal healthcare companies when they billed Medicare, Medicaid, and private third-party insurance plans.

In the lawsuit, SEARHC says that the Indian Health Service of DHHS did not take into account the indirect costs of handling “third-party revenues,” which are the payments SEARHC gets from other people when it reimbursed for costs in 2016. The Alaska Tribal Health Compact deal gives the health service most of SEARHC’s funding. However, the lawsuit says the federal government should pay “full contract support costs,” which includes the costs of billing third parties.

But DHHS doesn’t agree with SEARHC’s claim, which is backed up by several U.S. Supreme Court decisions. The department wrote to SEARHC CEO Charles Clement in 2023 to deny the claim. They said that IHS had paid SEARHC almost $59 million in 2016, with over $3 million going to contract support costs and $17 million going to secondary contract support costs. In it, it says, “Neither the parties’ compact nor the Funding Agreement includes an agreement that Contract Support Costs include any costs other than the amount set out in the compact.”

The department also says that SEARHC didn’t show any proof that it is owed an extra $8 million for the costs it paid when billing other companies.

Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Miller, & Monkman is an Anchorage law company that works with SEARHC and YKHC. There are sixty days for Becerra to answer to both cases.

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