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County program faces funding cut

November 1, 2012
By MICHAEL ANICH , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - The Fulton County Public Health Department's grant funding for administration of its state-mandated Early Intervention Program is being reduced by 22 percent for the coming year.

County Public Health Director Denise Frederick said Tuesday funding is being cut for the program, which assists children from birth to age 3.

The Early Intervention Program is a statewide program that provides many different types of early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. In New York state, the Department of Health is the lead state agency responsible for the Early Intervention Program.

The Board of Supervisors' Human Services Committee on Tuesday authorized an agreement with the DOH to accept $27,369 in 100 percent state funding for administration of the program for a period from Oct. 1, 2012, to Sept. 30, 2013. The full board must approve the agreement Nov. 13.

Frederick said the $27,369 in reimbursable funding represents a 22 percent reduction from last year's $35,089 allocation.

Broadalbin Supervisor Joseph DiGiacomo, committee chairman, asked what the 22 percent reduction means to the Early Intervention Program.

Frederick said "in theory," the state is reducing the Public Health Department's workload by cutting over a fifth of its funding for the program. She said Medicaid pays for about 60 percent of the children seen through the program.

"We are still responsible as a county to pay 100 percent of the reimbursed costs upfront," she said. "The delay in payment is a huge issue. Waiting for our state share is a problem."

In other Public Health Department business, the committee authorized various 2013 contracts for services. The contracts are with: private special education specialists; agencies such as the Central Association for the Blind, Lexington Center and Capital District Beginnings; preschool education contracts to benefit children ages 3 to 5; and other entities such as Dr. Paul Perreault, Littauer Hospital, St. Mary's Healthcare, Little Falls Hospital and the Adirondack Rural Health Network.



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