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Published: Friday, 6/15/2007

State wants transit service to repay Medicaid funding

A Toledo transportation service for people who use wheelchairs owes Ohio nearly $600,000 for improperly billing Medicaid, the state auditor contends.

Brookeside Ambulette also owes more than $80,000 for accrued interest on the amount. State Auditor Mary Taylor will release more details of the state's audit on Brookeside today.

Howard Schnabel, Brookeside's owner, said yesterday he did not know the audit was finalized until the state announced it to the media. The company disputes the audit and will pursue legal remedies, Mr. Schnabel said. "It blindsided us," he said.

He declined any additional comment.

Emily Frazee, a spokesman for the auditor's office, said more details of what Brookeside did cannot be released until today as required by state law.

The Brookeside Ambulette investigation is the first to be completed since Ms. Taylor two years ago sponsored legislation in the Ohio House of Representatives granting the auditor discretionary authority to audit Medicaid providers. Previously, such audits could only be done if requested by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, according to the office.

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