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Out of Money?

Medicaid officials in Georgia are blaming computer glitches for an estimated $400 million shortfall that could put the program under as early as this spring. Program commissioners say since April that's the amount of money they've overpaid hospitals across the state, and now they have to get it back.

As soon as you walk into a hospital or clinic one of the first questions you can expect to hear is.

"Do you have proof of insurance?"

"It pays for your medicine, if you're sick you can go to the hospital or your doctors but when you cut that off, you've got nothing!"

Officials overseeing Georgia's Medicaid program say come May, the program could very well go under unless they recoup more than $400 million they say they overpaid state hospitals this past year.

Hospital administrators say computer glitches may keep the actual figures from ever being discovered.

"We haven't known since April first who we were being paid for and how we were being paid, so this money is coming in every week and we haven't a clue as to what account to apply it to," says Ken Beverly.

Hospital officials say even if the Medicaid program does go under, the state requires that another program like it must be in place, but recipients say they're still afraid.

"I hope they work it out because so many people are in worse shape than I am. If they take everything away, what are we going to do? We're stuck!" says Francis Brown.

State officials say they will try to handle the overpayments by taking out a percentage of medical providers' weekly payments on current claims.

Archbold officials say no matter what happens, they will continue to provide all patients with quality care.


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