AUGUSTA — The Maine Department of Health and Human Services avoided nearly all of an expected $12.5 million that could have disrupted payments to providers at the end of June, the department announced in a news release today.

Commissioner Mary Mayhew warned lawmakers in May about a looming shortfall in the state’s Medicaid program, called MaineCare. The shortfall was the result of higher-than-expected costs in a handful of areas, including prescription drugs, the department had said.

Mayhew told lawmakers on Friday the department eliminated nearly all of the shortfall in the last five weeks of the fiscal year that ended June 30 and only had to defer one small payment to a nursing facility until July 2, the first business day of the new fiscal year.

Mayhew said the department was able to nearly eliminate the shortfall, in part because of lower-than-expected costs, reimbursements from other parts of state government and increased drug rebates.

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