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November 25, 2014

Oswego County Health Department Begins Process of Closing Long Term Home Health Care Program

OSWEGO - The Oswego County Health Department (OCHD) today announced it has begun the process of closing its Long Term Home Health Care Program. The State Department of Health recently approved the closure plan and the final closing date is pending the County Legislature's approval.

Since its inception in October 1985,the Long Term Home Health Program has provided services to hundreds of county residents. As the nation undergoes changes in the healthcare system and as New York State has been working on reducing medical costs, the county Long Term Home Health Care Program has experienced changes as well.

In August 2013, there were 18 patients in the program. By August 2014, 17 of those 18 patients had transitioned into alternate programs following the national and the state changes. Most of the patients transferred into one of the state's newly-established Managed Long Term Care agencies which serve Oswego County residents. The patients receive the same services they were receiving through the county health department.

On Aug. 27, 2014, the Oswego County Legislature's Health Committee unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the County Health Department to begin the process to discontinue long term home health care program. On Nov. 3, the committee unanimously passed a second resolution on the closure.

"The Oswego County Health Department has been working closely with the State Department of Health and is following the state guidelines for the process of closing the Long Term Home Health Care Program," said County Legislator John Proud, District 7, Mexico, chairman of the Health Committee. "The Health Department has submitted a draft closure plan to the state Regional Office for approval, and the draft closure plan has been approved."

The Oswego County Health Department has followed the State DOH guidelines and instructions in the process of the closure, and continues to work closely with health care providers, patients, and media outlets to ensure that the community's long term health care needs will be met during the process.

"Our mission is to provide services to county residents and to protect the health of people in Oswego County," said Jiancheng Huang, Oswego County Public Health Director. "As the nation and the state make systemic changes, our mission remains the same. We have worked closely with our patients and families as they transferred to managed long term care agencies. Thus far we have had no complaints from the patients about quality of service or their transfer to these agencies."

In addition to Legislator Proud, other members of the Oswego County Legislature's Health Committee are Legislators James Karasek, vice chairman, District 22, Granby; Frank Castiglia, District 25, Fulton; Margaret Kastler, District 1, Sandy Creek; Michael Kunzwiler, District 18, Oswego; Linda Lockwood, District 11, Volney; Douglas Malone, District 20, Town of Oswego; and Morris Sorbello, District 23, Granby.

According to the state approved plan for the closure, the public will be informed of the closure progress through the Oswego County government Web site at www.oswegocounty.com and news releases distributed by the Oswego County Public Information Office.


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