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AGO 1954 No. 322 - September 23, 1954
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

PUBLIC ASSISTANCE ‑- MEDICAL CARE ‑- CONTRACT PRICE PAID TO COUNTIES ‑- FACTORS CONSIDERED --COUNTIES ‑-ALSO UNDER DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

The State Department of Health may consider the cost of adapting an existing county facility to the care of senile patients, in determining the contract price to be paid a county for services rendered in caring for public assistance recipients and medical indigents.

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                                                              September 23, 1954

John A. Kahl, M.D.
Acting Director
Department of Health
Smith Tower
Seattle, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 53-55 No. 322


Dear Dr. Kahl:

            You have requested our opinion upon the following question:

            "May the department of health consider the costs necessary to adapt an existing county facility for the care of senile patients when determining the contract price to be paid the county for services rendered in caring for eligible recipients of public assistance and medical indigents?"

            Our answer to this question is in the affirmative.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            We have previously decided that counties have authority to establish facilities in available buildings and grounds for eligible recipients of public assistance and medical indigents who require senile patient care.  AGO 53-55 No. 284 [[to J. A. Kahl, Department of Health]].  Whether the department of health utilizes these facilities is a matter for administrative determination.

            Chapter 5, Laws of 1953, Ex. Sess. authorizes the department of health to provide necessary hospital and nursing home care to eligible recipients.  Sec. 3 (cf. RCW 74.08.410) of this law provides:

            "In carrying out the administrative responsibility of the act, the department of health may contract with an individual or a group, * * *"

            The department of health, in other words, may bargain and contract for services needed by eligible recipients and authorized by Chapter 5, supra.  The remuneration for services rendered must be reasonable and in line with the generally established costs for said services.  If this test and other requirements of law are met, no one of the many factors taken into consideration in arriving at a cost figure would appear to be individually controlling.  It is our opinion, therefore, that the department of health may consider costs necessary to adapt existing county facilities for the care of senile patients when determining the contract price to be paid for such care, provided the ultimate price agreed upon between the department of health and the county is reasonable and in line with the generally established costs for said care.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General


HAROLD J. HUNSAKER
Assistant Attorney General

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