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County's Financial Obligation to ECMC Unclear

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By Joyce Kryszak

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-847485.mp3

Buffalo, NY – Recommendations were submitted last week by the physicians' steering committee for the ECMC and Kaleida merger. Their plan could keep both hospital systems strong under the new Great Lakes Health System. But questions still remain about the county's financial obligation.

Click the audio player above to hear Joyce Kryszak's full story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.

Erie County will pay ECMC $7.7 million this month and roughly the same amount again next year. The county is obligated by a 2005 court order to continue subsidizing the hospital at least until 2010. But it's unclear what will be expected of the county beyond that -- especially now that ECMC and Kaleida are merging. County Budget Director Greg Gach says attorneys are hashing that out. m Callen is with the county comptroller's office. He says, in the meantime, they need to know how much to budget.

In case support must continue, county officials asked lawmakers to set up a reserve account exclusively for the hospital subsidy.