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News stories tagged with "medicaid"

NY ups spending for disabled outside institutions

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Federal statistics show New York has stepped up spending to give the disabled a choice to live outside institutions since a landmark Supreme Court ruling.

The 1999 Olmstead v. L.C. decision said unnecessarily segregating people in mental hospitals, nursing homes and other institutions amounted to discrimination.  Go to full article

Advocates fear new rules could hamper Medicaid

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) Some Vermont legal advocates say they are worried that new health care rules will make some people ineligible for long-term care Medicaid.

State officials say that the eligibility requirements are more streamlined but have not changed in law or practice.  Go to full article
Adirondack Health Chief Senior Services Officer Marc Walker talks with Uihlein Living Center resident Peggy Forkey at the Lake Placid nursing home in November of last year. Photo: Chris Knight via <a href="http://adirondackdailyenterprise.com/page/content.detail/id/536629/Nursing-homes-in-the-red.html">Adirondack Daily Enterprise</a>
Adirondack Health Chief Senior Services Officer Marc Walker talks with Uihlein Living Center resident Peggy Forkey at the Lake Placid nursing home in November of last year. Photo: Chris Knight via Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Can the North Country make nursing homes work?

Many nursing homes around the state are seeing big financial losses, and the situation is the same, if not worse, here in the North Country.

That's sparked a dialogue in the last few months among the region's long-term care leaders about ways they can partner, share services or even consolidate under one organization. Leaders of at least eight to 10 of the region's nursing homes have been involved in these talks.

Some long-term care advocates believe North Country nursing homes are at a tipping point.  Go to full article
Advocates for New York State's hungry rally at the Capitol in Nov., 2012 for an increase in the state's minimum wage. Some social services agencies are concerned about a wage hike. Photo: Karen DeWitt
Advocates for New York State's hungry rally at the Capitol in Nov., 2012 for an increase in the state's minimum wage. Some social services agencies are concerned about a wage hike. Photo: Karen DeWitt

Minimum wage hike pinches social service budgets

As state lawmakers and Governor Cuomo finalize the state budget, it looks like New York will raise the minimum wage gradually over three years.

Under the emerging agreement, the current $7.25 hourly minimum wage would increase to $8 an hour in January, to $8.75 at the beginning of 2015, and reach $9 an hour by the end of 2015.

If it happens, it would mean a wage jump of 24 percent in three years. Business leaders have expressed concern about the increased costs, while labor unions, religious, and anti-hunger groups are pushing for the hike.

Social services agencies in the North Country say increasing the minimum wage could help some people, but it also gives them reasons for concern.  Go to full article
Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivering his Executive Budget Address on Jan. 22, 2013. Photo: Gov. Cuomo's office via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/57782386@N06">Flickr</a>
Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivering his Executive Budget Address on Jan. 22, 2013. Photo: Gov. Cuomo's office via Flickr

Amended Cuomo budget includes min wage hike, cuts to disabled

Governor Cuomo has made several changes to his budget proposal. The amendments range from imposing a teacher evaluation plan on New York City, to cutting the cost of hunting licenses.  Go to full article

North Country nursing homes face questions

As our report from Albany today makes clear, country-run nursing homes are under pressure statewide. But the problem is particularly acute in rural areas where there aren't a lot of options for families that need nursing home care.

Adirondack Bureau Chief Brian Mann joins Martha Foley this morning to talk about the situation in the North Country, where county nursing homes from Lake Champlain to Lake Ontario face serious questions about the future.  Go to full article
It actually works out to be an enormous savings to New York, to the tune of $2.3 billion per year.

New York expanding Medicaid, and expects to save billions

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of most of the Affordable Care Act just last month, including the individual mandate. But New York has been working to implement the law for more than a year. The state has already gotten $88 million from the federal government to be one of the first to create a health insurance exchange. Yesterday, we spoke with Danielle Holahan, the project director for New York's health insurance exchange planning.

Danielle Holahan described a website similar to Travelocity, where people will be able to shop for health insurance plans. She expects the cost of a policy to be lower than it is today, in part because of the individual mandate. She said, "The mandate, as research shows, has the effect of bringing healthier lives into the insurance market, and that, on average, brings premiums down. So we saw that premiums would come down for that reason. And then, as sort of a second help, we have the federal tax credits, that would offset the premiums and make it affordable for people. Certainly more than zero if they don't have coverage today, but it should be affordable and they'll be getting what we think is a pretty valuable benefit for it."

Another big piece of the Affordable Care Act is the expansion of Medicaid, the government health care system for people with low incomes. Medicaid is administered at the state level. The Affordable Care Act would have required states to expand it, so more people would qualify for coverage. But the Supreme Court ruled that states don't have to expand Medicaid. Some states, such as Florida, are saying they won't. But Holahan tells Julie Grant that New York is also ahead of the game on Medicaid, and it's going to be lucrative.  Go to full article
Rick Jacobs, CFO at Canton-Potsdam Hospital.
Rick Jacobs, CFO at Canton-Potsdam Hospital.

Canton-Potsdam Hospital wants NY to expand Medicaid

Leaders at Canton-Potsdam Hospital want New York to expand the Medicaid program to include people whose incomes are above the federal poverty level. In its ruling upholding the federal health care act last week, the U.S. Supreme Court said states don't have to expand Medicaid.

However, Rick Jacobs, the hospital's Chief Financial Officer, says expansion would benefit the local hospital. He says if more people have government health insurance, there should be less need for charity care. That would help the hospital's bottom line and minimize the hospital's exposure to bad debt and charity care.  Go to full article
Helping Hands of Potsdam director Tom Chapell and other volunteers unload a donation of firewood
Helping Hands of Potsdam director Tom Chapell and other volunteers unload a donation of firewood

Volunteers fill gaps left by social service funding cuts

As local, state and federal governments are looking for ways to do more with less money, demand for aid and services to the poor is increasing.

That's creating some gaps between government-funded organizations' missions and their means.

In St. Lawrence County, volunteer organizations are stepping in to fill some of those gaps--
And as Nora Flaherty reports, they're doing it by being creative--and harnessing local resources.  Go to full article
We were hoping the state would relieve us of the obligation of paying for Medicaid costs altogether.

Counties disappointed, but state legislators say Medicaid relief just a start

County leaders around the North Country have been asking the state for mandate relief, especially since New York imposed a 2% property tax cap on local governments last year. Their biggest beef is paying for Medicaid. It accounts for the largest percentage of many county budgets, and many county leaders don't think those costs should be their responsibility.

The governor's budget proposal offers some assistance with local Medicaid costs. The administration has been fanning out around the state, trying to sell the plan he released last week. And Cuomo has gotten some support from north country state legislators. But county leaders aren't as pleased.  Go to full article

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