October 30, 2017

AG announces $18.5 million settlement in taxes owed by Presbyterian

The state of New Mexico and Presbyterian Healthcare Services agreed on a settlement to recoup millions in previously-unpaid Medicaid premium taxes.

Attorney General Hector Balderas announced Monday his office came to the agreement with the healthcare company to repay $18.5 million to the state.  “I appreciate Presbyterian’s willingness to do the right thing and pay what they owe through this speedy resolution,” Balderas said. “Given the corporation’s ambitious future plans, I am optimistic Presbyterian won’t repeat its past missteps. However, I will continue to monitor Presbyterian’s compliance with the findings contained in the Examination Resources audit.”

His office said the $18.5 million settlement came as part of an agreement to pay back the $14.6 million in unpaid premium taxes. The AG’s office will continue to recoup the $29 million the company owes according to a more recent audit.

A Presbyterian Healthcare Services executive said in a statement that dropping fraud charges was part of the settlement.

Dale Maxwell, the president and CEO of Presbyterian Healthcare Services, said he was “pleased” to come to the settlement with the AG.

“We are also proud to share that the fraud claims in the lawsuit were dismissed, as we have asserted they should be from the outset, prior to Presbyterian’s payment of any settlement amounts,” Maxwell said in a statement. “At Presbyterian, our sole purpose is to improve the health of New Mexicans, which is why we worked swiftly and thoroughly to resolve this matter – so we can continue to focus on caring for our patients and members.”

State Auditor Tim Keller also praised the settlement in a statement.

“The settlement with Presbyterian is a great first step towards collecting the money owed to New Mexicans that we identified,” Keller said. “The Office of the Superintendent of Insurance can still collect the remainder of the $29 million from Presbyterian, along with the remainder of the $65 million from 16 other insurance companies.”

A recent audit by Keller’s office found that insurers owe the state nearly $65 million in unpaid premium taxes. Presbyterian, the audit found, had the highest amount at $29 million.

Nearly all of this came from getting tax breaks they did not qualify for.