Last week the Siskiyou Daily News published my Letter to the Editor regarding County Administrative Officer Terry Barber’s request that the Board of Supervisors approve the write-off of nearly $2 million owed to the county by Medicaid Special Services provider HealTherapy, Inc. (a horse therapy program provider).

Listening to the online audio of that meeting was a revelation. (You can access the audio at:

I’ll get to the $12 million a little later, but in response to my letter to the board, at their meeting Supervisor Ray Haupt (District 5) said that he had searched his brain and computer and couldn’t find a recollection of the issue, CAO Terry Barber said this was a cleanup item for her office, and Supervisor Lisa Nixon (District 4) said that the board has been aware of and is thoroughly versed on the issue and that she had made a thorough investigation of it.

Supervisor Nixon took office in January 2017, two years after the final decision on the overpayment of $1,903,731 was made by the state. The results of her investigation should have been made to the public.

CAO Barber sat on the debt for over four years. She should have disclosed the debt back in 2015.

But wait – there’s more – $12 million more! CAO Barber revealed that the Behavioral Health Division has a debt of $12 million from “cost overruns.” (I assume based on limited information, but may be wrong, that that means “over payments” by the state based on provider billings).

In June 2012 the county approved an agreement with the State of California to repay the $12 million. The agreement is a Sweet Deal for the county, and according to discussion at the board meeting, a first for the state. Terms of the agreement were stated to be $12 million, $200,000 per year for 70 years, at zero percent interest, and apparently to be repaid from Medicaid money the county receives annually.

The county must have done some fierce negotiating to get the state to sign such an agreement. The $1,903,731 was added to that payback agreement.

I was incorrect in assuming that the $1.9 million owed by HealTherapy, Inc. would come from the general fund which pays for the library and other such services. I do not believe that I was incorrect in thinking that our elected and appointed county officials owe the people of this county more transparency. This is still taxpayer dollars, and mental health care providers lining their pockets should not be allowed by either the county or the state.

Anne Marsh