6/27/12: Courtesy of WIVB. A financial and health care debacle may be in the Erie County Medical Center’s future. Chris Collins had said a new deal he struck with ECMC would take Erie County “out of the hospital business.” He is being called on that statement now, because the county’s share of the cost at ECMC is expected to increase by tens of millions of dollars by the end of this year. The costs are skyrocketing at the hospital when it comes to treating patients who have little or no health insurance. In 2009, then County Executive Chris Collins negotiated a deal with ECMC to have Erie County pay $16.2 million to help cover these expenses. He called it a “fixed subsidy,” and in exchange for that, the hospital let the county off the hook for all other losses and for paying off a hundred million dollars of debt. “Took the taxpayers off the hook for future losses when we signed that agreement. Without the agreement, if the hospital lost $50 million, the Erie County taxpayer would have had to make up the loss,” said Collins. But that “fixed cost” of $16.2 million has risen sharply to more than $23 million in 2010 and $25 million last year. his year it is projected at as high as $38.9 million. Poloncarz says Collins underestimated the future costs of covering the uninsured and underinsured at ECMC.

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