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NIAGARA NEWS BRIEFS

Reimbursement rates for Medicaid may change

NIAGARA FALLS -- Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and seven other community hospitals in the state would see their Medicaid reimbursement rates changed under a bill authored by Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte.

DelMonte, D-Lewiston, on Friday said the proposed legislation would address changes to Medicaid reimbursements made late last year.

The changes made in December sought to shift funding from inpatient to outpatient services, DelMonte said.

The Niagara Falls hospital lost $2.3 million in Medicaid revenue because of the changes made last year, hospital officials said.

"Quite simply, our medical center cannot sustain operations if we are forced to absorb a revenue reduction of this magnitude," Memorial President Joseph A. Ruffolo said in a statement released Friday.

The legislation would reallocate $3 million in total state Medicaid funding to eight community hospitals that ranked among the top five percent hardest hit by the changes made last year, DelMonte said.

The bill also is supported by State Sen. Antoine Thompson, D-Buffalo.

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Member of Lee's staff plans time for residents

NORTH TONAWANDA -- A member of the staff of Rep. Chris Lee, R-Clarence, will be available to meet with residents from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Wednesday in the city's Public Library, 505 Meadow Drive.

"These office hours provide Niagara County residents with a unique opportunity to meet with a member of my staff one-on-one, whether it be to troubleshoot interactions with federal agencies or discuss the issues of the day," Lee said.

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Primatologist Goodall will speak April 14

Jane Goodall, the primatologist known for her landmark study of chimpanzees in East Africa, will speak in Canisius College's Koessler Athletic Center at 7:30 p.m. April 14.

Goodall in 1977 founded the Jane Goodall Institute, which is dedicated to protecting chimpanzees and their habitats and establishing conservation and development programs.

The speech is free and open to the public, and tickets are not required. The talk is sponsored by the Canisius College Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations and the William H. Fitzpatrick Institute of Public Affairs and Leadership.

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Hispanic group accepting scholarship applications

The Hispanic Women's League is accepting applications for scholarships for Hispanic high school seniors.

Students must have an academic average of 85 or higher. Also required is evidence of community participation and documentation of the intent to attend college in the fall of 2010.

Applications may be obtained online at hispanicwomensleague.org or by calling Alicia Granto-Estenoz at 885-HELP (4357) or Eleanor Paterson at 851-1049.

The deadline for receipt of applications is April 7.

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