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NYS owes Oneida County millions, Board to vote on hiring law firms next week

By NICOLE PITT

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - New York State owes Oneida County a big chunk of change. It's money that the county was overpaying in medicaid for residents living in mental institutions. For years, the county overpaid. Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente says it's added up to between $4 and 6 million dollars.

It's called overburdened aid. Back in 2005, the medicaid laws changed. The state started contributing more.

Picente says the county was never notified.

"So there's cases and cases and as we stated, we believe millions of dollars in funds that should be returned to the county," said Picente. "It's not something that the state would automatically would turn around and have the where-with-all to say 'oh yes, these cases are eligible.' It's something you have to go back and prove a case is eligible, document it and then submit for payment."

It may take as long as two years for the reimbursements to come in but Picente says when it does, it will be put to good use.

"Any type of revenue helps. Especially in view of what we have been facing as a county. And we cry about medicaid costs. This is an area that we can recoup and we need to go get it."

The process is very time consuming. Picente wants to enter an agreement with three law firms that specialize in cases like this. Their fee would be a percentage of any money that is collected.

This is not the first time the county went through this process. Back in the early 2000's the county was able to collect more than $2 million dollars from the state.

Oneida County Legislators will vote next Wednesday on whether or not to enter an agreement with those law firms.

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