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BOS approve resuming payments

JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton County Board of Supervisors recently approved resuming payments to pre-school education providers after months of non-payment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minor opposition to the board resolution was expressed. Voting no were Johnstown 3rd Ward Supervisor Jack Callery, Gloversville 2nd Ward Supervisor Frank Lauria Jr., and Bleecker Supervisor David Howard.

Callery said the state is in effect forcing reimbursement to the state during COVID.

“I just think it’s wrong,” he said.

The resolution passed by the board at the County Office Building relates to the resumption of payments to pre-school education providers providing services through the Fulton County Public Health Department.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year issued an executive order directing all schools in New York state to close. On March 16, the state Education Department sent an email directing Pre-School Education Program providers to continue charging for educational placement based on enrollment.

Per state Education Law, all approved costs for a pre-school child who received services becomes a charge on the municipality where the child resides. Costs are expected to be paid at least quarterly by the appropriate governing body.

County officials noted that due to state government withholding reimbursements to county departments for state-mandated programs, Fulton County has not paid pre-school education provider claims for “several months.”

But county Administrative Officer Jon Stead, Public Health Director Laurel Headwell and the Human Services Committee recommended the county resume payment and resume claiming for Medicaid and private insurance reimbursement to avoid additional damage to the county’s finances.

Headwell was authorized to resume processing payments to all Pre-school Education Program providers and to “expeditiously” submit claims for reimbursement for all state, federal and private sources, the resolution said.

In other health-related matters, the board accepted $22,819 in Special Health Care Needs Program Grants from the state Department of Health for 2020-21.

Supervisors also authorized a contract with Helping Hands Pre-School for center-based education for children three to five through the health department.

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