MOORHEAD — In November, counties across Minnesota were notified by the Minnesota Department of Human Services that DHS had overpaid them for certain services and the agency wanted the money back.

The amount DHS is seeking from counties is nearly $9 million.

However, the Association of Minnesota Counties is recommending counties let DHS officials know they plan to keep the money they received. On Tuesday, Dec. 31, the Clay County Commission did just that.

Commissioners unanimously voted to authorize that a letter be sent to the state saying the county did not intend to pay the approximately $118,000 DHS was billing it for.

The letter Clay County will send to DHS officials, based on a template suggested by the Association of Minnesota Counties, states: "We are confident that by working together creatively and collaboratively we will find a method for covering these costs."

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DHS documents show the agency miscalculated payments from January 2014 to May 2019 and used federal Medicaid funds to pay for substance abuse disorder treatments that weren’t eligible for federal funds.

Federal law requires DHS to reimburse the federal government for their share of those payments.

At a recent Association of Minnesota Counties conference, Gov. Tim Walz said he plans to work with legislators to hold counties harmless for the payments in question.

In addition to Clay County, a number of other counties have said they also don't plan to pay their DHS bills, including Beltrami and St. Louis counties.

The latter owes DHS about $700,000 tied to overpayments, according to a report by Minnesota Public Radio.