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Community Health Centers Suing Arizona Over AHCCCS Reimbursements

A group of community health centers is suing Arizona for failing to pay them for the cost of providing certain services to low-income individuals who are uninsured.

The lawsuit filed Monday in federal court says the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), the state's Medicaid program, is required to reimburse "federally qualified health centers'' for the costs of all services provided.

Attorney Matthew Freedus says the state is on the financial hook for services provided by those health centers — even if it does not provide coverage for those same services for those enrolled in the AHCCCS program itself.

"Those services, that term of art, includes a range of services. The problem here is that Arizona is not recognizing the full extent of what that mandatory set of services includes.”

The lawsuit asks a judge to order AHCCCS to reimburse the health centers for their full costs.

Spokeswoman Heidi Capriotti would say only that her agency's position is that its coverage "is consistent with the federal definition of physician services.''

Phil Latzman is an award-winning digital journalist and broadcast professional with over 25 years of experience covering news and sports on a multitude of platforms.