Bucking a trend of tax increases seen countywide, the West Volusia Hospital Authority adopted a millage rate for the 2022-23 fiscal year down 14 percent from its 2021-22 budget. The budget totals $15,945,000.
Sure, costs are up, but the Hospital Authority freed up some cash by sticking to its guns about Medicaid reimbursements despite an ongoing legal battle.
While the Hospital Authority used to own its own hospital, AdventHealth DeLand is now privately owned, and the authority is arguing that it does not benefit from the Medicaid money that Florida and Volusia County receive and must pay back.
When the Hospital Authority refused to pay its piece of the reimbursement — nearly $3 million — arguing that it adversely affected West Volusia taxpayers, Volusia County sued the taxing district. Volusia County won its suit in June, but the Hospital Authority is appealing its legal defeat, and the authority’s budget reflects that.
Hospital Authority Board Chair Jennifer Coen said it didn’t make sense to levy taxes for a fee the board was arguing it shouldn’t have to pay.
“It’s hard to collect something from someone and then not pay it on their behalf,” she said.
If the Hospital Authority ultimately loses its legal battle over Medicaid fees, board members noted there was money in the authority’s reserve funds to cover it.
The Hospital Authority’s nearly $16 million budget provides funding to a number of agencies that provide services to people in the community most in need. The budget also funds the Hospital Authority’s miCare clinics and reimbursements to private hospitals to cover a fraction of emergency room costs for indigent patients. Funded agencies include SMA Healthcare, Rising Against All Odds, The Neighborhood Center and many more.