Mental Hygiene makes up for budget shortfall -- and then some

NORWICH – All but $52,000 of a nearly $400,000 deficit reported in the Chenango County Department of Mental Hygiene Services back in 2007 has been made up with revenues collected this year.

Changes in the format of counseling programs have resulted in more units of service, meaning more individuals receiving care, and “excellent” revenue collections, said department Director Mary Ann Spryn. Spyrn made her report before members of the Chenango County Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday.

“The current budget through October indicates that revenues are in excess of expenditures and have eliminated the local share for mental health programs,” she said.

The 20-year department veteran had remained optimistic in her projections that her budget would turn around. The deficit, which she characterized as an anomaly, was the result of Medicaid take-backs from 2004 and 2005 that the New York State Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services considered overpayments based on the county’s revenues. Low service numbers, inexperienced clinicians, unfilled positions and absences due to illness were also partly to blame.

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