JOHNSTOWN - The Fulton County Board of Supervisors voted Monday to submit a statement of interest to the state Department of Health to have the county perform certain Medicaid administrative functions once the state takes over administration of the entitlement program in 2018.
Five supervisors voted against the move: Northampton Supervisor Linda Kemper, Stratford Supervisor Robert Johnson Jr., Johnstown 3rd Ward Supervisor Jack Callery, Bleecker Supervisor David Howard and Caroga Supervisor Ralph Ottuso.
Howard was critical of an initiative he said the state hasn't fully explained.
"How do we know we have interest if we don't know what they're going to do?" he asked.
Howard said Fulton County Department of Social Services Commissioner Sheryda Cooper "didn't know what this is going to mean." He said the county has no figures available on its cost if it takes over some of the Medicaid administration. He said he's not sure what he's voting on and Cooper doesn't feel "comfortable" with the initiative.
The resolution passed by the board Monday notes state law authorizes the state Department of Health to assume responsibility for administration of the Medicaid program from local DSS districts by March 31, 2018.
Statements of interest are being solicited by the DOH from all the counties to determine interest in contracting with DOH to locally perform certain Medicaid administrative functions. Statements are due Sept. 10.
County Administrative Officer Jon Stead said the statement will be used by the state for planning purposes, to "do a survey" of all counties, and is not binding on Fulton County.
The statement Cooper is being authorized to submit will include these three, main areas:
Broadalbin Supervisor Joseph DiGiacomo, chairman of the Human Services Committee, told the board Cooper recommended the county take some action on the DOH statement of interest. But he said Cooper also indicated there's "very little" she wants the county to get involved with on Medicaid administration, with the exception of the "front-end stuff," such as renewal for certain people.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at email@example.com.