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HEALTH BOARD RESISTING CALL TO CUT BUDGET

The Niagara County Health Board Thursday said it is resisting a suggested 2 percent cut in its 1991 budget.

Stephen J. Simmons Jr., the board's fiscal administrator, told the board the heaviest cuts most likely would be in overtime paid for nursing, environmental and mosquito control services and for Mercy Flight.

"It will drastically reduce evening and weekend calls," Simmons said.

The board reacted to an appeal by the County Legislature to departments to adjust their budgets in anticipation of cutbacks in aid from the state next year.

Overtime budgeted for nursing services would be reduced to $30,179 from $65,000; for environmental services to $6,000 from $27,000, 000, and funding for Mercy flight would be cut to $18,175 from $25,000.

Also, contractual expenses for treating physically handicapped children would drop by $7,734 to $97,266.

The board sent a letter to the Legislature, saying it felt the 2 percent was "unreasonable."

"Asking the Health Department to reduce its budget by more than 2 percent because of a possible loss in state revenues, which amount to less than 1/2 of 1 percent of the total county budget, seems unreasonable," said board President Ernest T. Chank.

The board reduced total appropriations by $84,262. and cut budgeted revenues $29,238.

The Legislature has final approval over the board's budget.

The board also said it would contact the state Social Services Department in an attempt to reverse cutbacks in Medicaid reimbursements for hearing-aid vendors after John Reardon, director of the Speech, Hearing and Language Center, said Lockport Hearing Consultants Inc. recently notified him it would no longer take Medicaid patients.

"They were the last hearing aid dealer in Niagara County to accept Medicaid," Reardon said.

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