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Proposed Medicaid cuts affect more agencies

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CANTON — Cerebral Palsy Association of the North Country and United Helpers are among the agencies serving the developmentally disabled facing a 6 percent cut in Medicaid, which could curtail services and staffing.

For Cerebral Palsy, the 6 percent reduction could mean a loss of $437,000 on top of $600,000 in cuts over the last three years, Cerebral Palsy Executive Director Doris A. Chenier said.

Whether that will translate into staff layoffs remains unknown.

“That’s not our intent at this point. I think any job loss in this county is devastating,” Mrs. Chenier said. “In the final analysis, we just have to wait and see.”

United Helpers could lose 6 percent of its $15 million budget that pays for services for the development disabled, Executive Director Stephen E. Knight said.

“We don’t know right now exactly what is going to happen,” he said. “It depends on whether it’s across-the-board cuts or more focused on specific programs.”

United Helpers has prepared for cuts it anticipated were coming by becoming more efficient. It shaved off $174,000 in utility costs last year and did not replace some staff members who left, Mr. Knight said.

Other north country agencies affected by the funding cut proposed through the state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities include Jefferson Rehabilitation Center, the Oneida-Lewis NYSARC and St. Lawrence NYSARC.

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