Alabama Medicaid System Losing Money

Alabama loses money by not tracking late fees and other payments from pharmaceutical companies that sell prescription drugs to the state's Medicaid system. State Medicaid officials said the financial loss is minimal and an upgraded computer system will help correct any problem.

According to the audit released Wednesday, by the inspector general for the U.S, Department of Health and Human Services, Alabama's drug rebate program follows federal rules but shortchanges itself by failing to account for late fees and other outstanding payments.

The report didn't estimate how much the state could be losing each year, but Mary Finch, spokeswoman for the Alabama Medicaid Agency, estimated it to be well under $1 million. The Alabama Medicaid Agency estimates it will spend $515 million this fiscal year on prescriptions, which accounts for 13.5 % of its budget.

The prescription program gets 70 % of its funding from the federal government and 30 percent from the state.

Produced by Vanessa Staples