E. Michael Kavanagh

The Department of Health (DOH) administers Medicaid. The Human Service Overburden Law of 1982 requires the state reimburse county Medicare costs for the mentally disabled. An Article 78 proceeding by St. Lawrence County challenged DOH’s disallowance claims—accruing before Jan. 1, 2006—seeking reimbursement of $28,716 in so-called “overburden expenses.” DOH interpreted a 2010 amendment to the Medicaid Cap Statute as repealing Social Services Law §368-a(1)(h), thus relieving it of its reimbursement obligation. The Third Department affirmed the lower court’s reimbursement order. Noting that the 2010 amendment did not explicitly repeal §368-a(1)(h) or regulations promulgated by DOH, the panel rejected DOH’s claim that the amendment invalidated §368-a(1)(h) by implication. It further determined that the 2010 amendment and Social Services Law §368-a were compatible and could be interpreted in a manner such that the 2010 amendment could be read to bar reimbursement for overburden expenditures that accrued after Jan. 1, 2006, while Social Services Law §368-a can be interpreted as requiring the state to reimburse St. Lawrence County for any such expenditures accruing before that date.