- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 2, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A report says West Virginia could save $12.5 million or more by consolidating dozens of county health departments into nine multicounty districts.

State officials say they aren’t considering the change right now. Instead, they are pushing legislation that could save up to $7.7 million through better billing practices.

The report was released Tuesday by West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research during a news conference with the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

In the report, Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department Executive Director Drema Mace estimated almost $12.5 million in savings by consolidating redundant positions. The report suggests additional research on the idea.

The new legislation would let county departments bill insurers at the maximum rate, possibly generating an extra $7.7 million as their budgets face cuts.

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