Clark County auditor Jerry Carroll told a jury Thursday he had concerns about changes to a University Medical Center contract for the company hired to collect patient bills.
The series of contract changes under then-UMC chief Lacy Thomas seemed to hurt the hospital while benefiting ACS Consultant Co., Carroll testified.
"It appeared we were trying to get them, ACS, more money," he said.
Thomas faces charges of theft and misconduct by a public officer stemming from contracts UMC awarded to ACS and four other companies during his three-year tenure.
Prosecutors contend that Thomas wanted to enrich friends and associates from Chicago with contracts that were unnecessary or duplicated services.
Thomas' lawyer, Dan Albregts, says his client brought in his Chicago contacts because he had worked with them at a large county hospital there and trusted they could help solve the major problems at UMC.
Carroll first flagged the ACS contract in October 2005 when he came across an "administrative clarification" signed by Thomas that would have significantly changed the amount of money Clark County would have to pay ACS.
The change would have included county payments to cover treatment of poor patients, even though those funds were specifically excluded in the original contract, he said.
Carroll was also bothered that those funds were listed as numeric codes in the document.
"It looked clandestine," Carroll said. "Why didn't it say Clark County social services indigent fund? It just had these provider codes."
The change would have boosted county payments to ACS by nearly $7 million over a nine-month period, he said.
After Carroll flagged the change, it was withdrawn.
The contract was eventually changed twice, with approval from county commissioners, to make it easier for ACS to make money on the bills it was collecting.
Under cross examination from Albregts, Carroll acknowledged that the administrative clarification didn't cost the county any money because it was never approved.
Albregts also suggested that the ACS contract was changed to add incentives to ensure the company collected enough money so it wouldn't pull out of the deal.
The county ended the ACS contract in January 2007, the same month that Thomas was fired, because the company failed to reach collection goals for four straight months, Carroll said.
ACS sued the county, which is expected to settle and pay ACS about $575,000.
Contact reporter Brian Haynes at email@example.com or 702-383-0281.