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Essex County expects about $350k in cuts

Majority are in state health, social services

June 15, 2010
By NATHAN BROWN, Enterprise Staff Writer

ELIZABETHTOWN - The $327 million in cuts to mental health and social services that the state Legislature passed Monday evening are expected to have a $350,000 annual impact on Essex County, according to county Manager Dan Palmer.

The county-run Horace Nye Nursing Home in Elizabethtown will see a reduction of at least $128,000 in state payments. About $101,000 of this is due to a 1.7 percent reduction in Medicaid payments due to the elimination of the "trend factor," or the increase due to inflation. Horace Nye Director Deborah Gifford also said $28,000 is due to a reduction in the "bed hold," or the amount the nursing home is paid to hold a bed when someone leaves to go to the hospital or goes home for a weekend.

The pharmaceutical reimbursement has also been eliminated from Medicaid reimbursement calculations; Gifford said Monday morning she was still trying to calculate the impact of this.

The county will also see a 2 percent reduction in reimbursement for child welfare services, said Social Services Director John O'Neill. O'Neill didn't have the exact impact Monday but said it would probably translate into "a few hundred thousand dollars."

Palmer said the county will still be required to provide the same services it does now despite the cuts.

"We still have to provide the services; we're just not going to get paid as much for them," Palmer said.

During Monday night's Senate debate, several opponents of the bill objected on the grounds that it would lead to increases in local property taxes by passing costs on to counties. It passed there 34-27, with Sens. Betty Little, R-Queensbury and Joe Griffo, R-Rome, opposed. Sen. Darrel Aubertine, D-Cape Vincent, voted for it.

If the extenders hadn't passed and the state government had shut down, the main impact on county government would have been closing the Department of Motor Vehicles office and making it impossible for the social services department to offer many of the services it does, Palmer said, as their computers are hooked to the state system.

The state budget, which was supposed to be passed on April 1, still hasn't been, but Gov. David Paterson has gotten some full-year budget cuts, such as these ones, passed by tying them to the weekly emergency spending appropriations that keep the government going in the absence of a budget.


Contact Nathan Brown at 891-2600 ext. 26 or



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