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San Diego Hospitals Sue County Over Prisoners’ Medical Bills

A group of San Diego area hospitals are suing the county again. The dispute centers on medical bills run up last year by prisoners of the sheriff's department. The hospitals say the sheriff's department has to pay the bills of detainees who get treatment before they're booked in jail.

In a similar suit three years ago, a judge ruled the sheriff's department did have to pay those expenses. But the county is challenging that ruling in an appeals court and won't pay the latest bills until a court decision is made.

Mark Johnson represents the hospitals and he says it's not a new issue.

Johnson : This suit involves very similar claims for 2006 and we're hopeful that once the court of appeals issues its decision on the prior case that we'll be able to resolve the issues in this particular case.

The suit seeks $1.4 million. Johnson said he expects a decision from the appeals court in the next few months.

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