County officials to decide who administrates Medicaid program

by Carol Thompson

Oswego County officials have responded to a survey requested by the New York State Department of Health in regard to the state takeover of Medicaid administration.

The laws of 2012 authorizes the Department of Health to transfer responsibility for the administration of the Medicaid program from local social services districts over a period of six years (by March 31, 2018).

The Department of Health may accomplish the assumption of administrative responsibilities with state staff, contracted entities, and contracts with counties, according to information provided by the county.

The legislation requires the Department of Health to send a Statement of Interest to counties to elicit their interest and capacity to contract with the Department of Health to perform Medicaid administrative functions.

The Department of Health will determine the timing of the assumption of functions. The timing will be based on when the state has created the infrastructure (staff and systems) to take on the function.

The Department of Health will publish a timeline for assuming functions once the results of the Statement of Interest have been analyzed.

The timeline will be updated each year until 2018 or when full state assumption of Medicaid functions has been achieved, according to state officials.

Oswego County and the Department of Social Services have been invited to complete a survey of interest which should be submitted to the Department of Health by Sept. 10.

Those counties not submitting the survey will be assumed to have no desire to contract with the Department of Health.

According to the New York State Association of Counties, the state’s Medicaid program leads the nation when it comes to providing Medicaid for those who cannot afford to pay for medical care.

The program serves nearly five million residents and is rapidly growing and accounts for 40 percent of the total $136 billion State Budget.

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