NORWICH – Faced with a growing number of state mandates and limited finances, the Chenango County Department of Social Services is scrutinizing its ways of operation for the coming years, according to the department’s recently released annual report.
The report, presented at the May meeting of the county Board of Supervisor, outlines challenges of the department over the last year and how administrators intend to address future issues, primarily the cap on Medicaid and New York State’s takeover of the Medicaid system.
The county footed more than $10.1 million in Medicaid expenses in 2014 making it the most costly unfunded mandate shouldered by local taxpayers.
But even with the state’s phased takeover of the Medicaid system – which led to a 14 percent decrease in Medicaid caseloads (from 5,318 in 2013 to 4,600 in 2014) – the fiscal hurdles aren’t going away, said DSS Commissioner Bette Osborne. The department’s making adjustments to bear the financial burden, including cost reductions through staff reduction by attrition, modernization of technology, and upgrading processes.