County ends pursuit of Medicaid reimbursements from state it says Fulton was shorted

JOHNSTOWN — Fulton County this week discontinued its three-year legal quest to recover nearly $1 million from the state in past Medicaid reimbursement payments the county felt it was owed.

The county was contesting in state Supreme Court recoupment of certain Federal Medical Assistance Percentage, or FMAP funds, by the state through the county Department of Social Services.

But the Board of Supervisors voted Monday at the County Office Building to discontinue legal action.

“Once again, the state beat us up again,” said Johnstown 3rd Ward Supervisor Jack Callery.

FMAP is a Medicaid-matching rate enacted in 1965 that determines the federal funding share for state Medicaid programs. The federal government matches state funds spent on Medicaid, based on the state’s FMAP. The FMAP varies from state to state, and New York’s FMAP is 50 percent.

The Fulton County Board of Supervisors in September 2014 hired Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna LLP for $5,000 to fight the state. The county contended the state Department of Health failed and/or refused to reimburse the county for what was called “overburden” payments, in alleged direct violation of state law.

Supervisors on Monday noted that the Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna law firm pursued litigation against the state for FMAP funds on behalf of Fulton County and several counties.

But Monday’s resolution said the state “denied the demand for payment and contested the various counties’ claims through appeals.”

DSS Commissioner Sheryda Cooper received a letter indicating the state Court of Appeals recently ruled in favor of the state, and there will be no further appeals on the part of the law firm.

In other business Monday:

∫ The board directed county Planning Director James Mraz to meet with representatives of Ameresco of Framingham, Mass. to explore the concept of developing, designing and presenting a solar energy project at the Tryon Technology Park. The firm wants the county to get into a power purchase agreement with the county involving generation of electric power on the Tryon power to be sold to the county.

∫ Supervisors set a public hearing for 2:15 p.m. March 13 at the County Office Building in Johnstown to hear comments regarding a draft, map, plan report for the county’s proposed Water District. No. 2.

The county is trying to establish public water services along Hales Mills Road Extension in the town of Johnstown.

∫ The board authorized county Treasurer Terry Blodgett to issue a $4,265 court-ordered refund to R.H. Crown Co. Inc. of North Market Street in Johnstown for overpayment of county property taxes in 2016. In a Supreme Court order, assessment on Crown’s two properties was reduced from $843,000 to $340,000.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]

By Chad Fleck

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