Washington County, Ballad reach agreement on past due invoices
Published 12:03 pm Tuesday, July 5, 2022
JONESBOROUGH — Through diligent efforts of Sheriff Keith Sexton and Mayor Joe Grandy, Washington County can now consider its overdue medical bills from Ballad Health paid in full.
Sexton and Grandy negotiated more than $2 million in medical bills ignored by the former sheriff’s administration down to $478,515.
“The Mayor and I made this mess a priority to clean up,” Sheriff Sexton said. “Considering where we started, this is a fair settlement for the services that were provided by Ballad.”
No one in county government was aware of the past due invoices, some of which dated back to 2018, because the former sheriff’s administration did not forward the invoices for payment.
“Overall, I am pleased with the settlement, and appreciative of the amount of time and effort the Sheriff’s Office and Ballad put in to helping us look at medical bills that were several years old,” said Mayor Grandy. “This is a resolution that shows when you all sit down in an environment of partnership, you can to come to an amicable solution.”
Negotiations began in November of last year after Sexton was appointed sheriff and discovered a demand for payment letter from Ballad. Prior to Sexton’s arrival, Ballad had attempted to negotiate payment multiple times over the several years with little or no response from the former sheriff’s administration.
“According to Ballad officials, neither the former Chief Deputy nor former Jail Administrator responded to requests from the healthcare group to negotiate payment,” Sexton said. “On top of that, the county’s accounting office never received the invoices nor knew anything was past due to Ballad.
“We discovered that while some medical bills to physicians and specialty groups were submitted for payment, bills from Ballad were not. It was like if an invoice had Ballad’s name on it, they pushed it to the side.”
Due to the lack of record keeping by the former administration, Ballad had to provide duplicates of the invoices to the county because no one in the sheriff’s department had copies. Ballad Health never denied emergent or outpatient medical care to an inmate housed in the county’s detention center even with the three-year lapse in payment.
“We are glad to get this matter settled and move forward,” Sexton said.