News from the Associated Press - Marhc 20, 2014

Associated Press
March 20, 2014

NY audit faults referrals for veterans' benefits

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York auditors say poor coordination of health benefits for military veterans by local social services departments and the state health department has resulted in many veterans placed in the state's Medicaid program rather than federal programs.

Auditors report dozens of examples where referrals weren't made for federal benefits, limiting those veterans' health care options and costing the state and its taxpayers millions of dollars.

In the five-year period ending March 31, 2013, New York's Medicaid program reimbursed health care providers $3.47 billion for medical services provided to more than 70,000 veterans.

According to the federal Veterans Administration, about 913,000 veterans live in New York.

Many veterans enrolled in Medicaid are also entitled to health care through the VA, with a choice of which to use.


NY Senate reveals proposals for seniors in budget

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The Independent Democratic Conference, which controls the New York Senate with the Republicans, has released a list of proposals they say would lower the cost of living for seniors.

The conference on Wednesday proposed lowering the cost of prescription drugs, establishing an independent consumer advocate to help protect seniors from rising energy costs, enacting a Paid Family Leave plan for families to take care of their relatives, and freezing rent payments for middle-income seniors across the state, among other proposals.

The Paid Family Leave proposal would allow 6 weeks off paid at 50 percent of an earner's weekly salary, or up to the maximum of the statewide average weekly wage.

The "Senior Affordability Plan" would cost $45.2 million and was included in the Senate budget resolution released last week.


NY lawmakers meet to approve budget by April 1

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - State lawmakers will be meeting again in joint budget committees as they try to approve a budget by the end of the month.

Conference committees on policy areas such as transportation and health will be held by the state Senate and Assembly on Thursday. State leaders are trying to determine how much money will be spent on different programs.

Negotiations behind closed doors among Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders are expected to continue through next week.

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