Release of Medicaid funds brings welcome local relief

John Christensen

County leaders across the state had been waiting on the funds since March

The N.Y. State Department of Health announced last week the disbursement of $323 million in enhanced Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage (eFMAP) funds to counties. The funds, included as part of the Families First Coronavirus stimulus package passed by Congress and signed by the President in March were designed to provide states and counties with funding that would help them through the national health emergency brought on by the novel coronavirus.

Yates County Administrator-Treasurer Nonie Flynn replied to the news with relief. “Yates County is thrilled with the release of the federal funds from New York State. By the end of this year, this support from our federal government will equate to a reduction of over $354,000 from what we had projected for our Medicaid payments for 2020. This reduction in expense will help reduce our anticipated deficit for 2020 from the loss of our sales tax revenue that we have already experienced and the projected reduction in state aid revenue that we are anticipating.”

Yates County Legislature Chairman Douglas Paddock was equally concerned before news of the disbursement was released. “It is welcome news that the governor has released eFMAP funding to the counties and New York City, said Paddock. “This is funding that was available to the state in March, but has not been forthcoming to the counties.”

Paddock explained the assistance is not cash in the bank, however. “It has not been sent as a lump sum, but is being apportioned as a reduction in the weekly payment by the county to the state. With the last four sales tax distributions from the state being down more than 30% from last year, the eFMAP funding will assist the county’s cash flow.”

Dan McCoy, Albany County Executive and President of the New York State County Executive’s Association and the National Association of Counties said, “County Leaders applaud the New York Congressional Delegation for securing the additional federal Medicaid funding for the counties. “This essential funding will help county government leaders continue to serve the public during these challenging economic times,” McCoy added. “On behalf of the N.Y.S. County Executives’ Association, I would also like to express our sincere appreciation to Governor Cuomo and the N.Y.S. Department of Health for their commitment to continue the state cap on local Medicaid expenses. This is an important public health program which serves millions of New Yorkers.”