Health agency recalls some workers

Health agency recalls some workers

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - ACR Health is bringing some employees back on payroll, but is not out of the woods yet.

In July, ACR Health furloughed 70 employees, shut down its office in Canton and consolidated offices in Watertown and Syracuse after payments from the state stopped, putting the group in the hole by $1.6 million.

Now the organization has gotten its debt down to $800,000 and 27 workers are back on the job. That’s because the state is paying 80 percent of its tab to ACR for services provided in April, May and June.

(See related story on state making 80 percent payments here.)

Executive Director Wil Murtaugh said he reached out to the state again on Tuesday to see what the funding would look like for July onward.

“And guess what? They had no answer for me,” Murtaugh said.

“They did not know what was going to happen, how we were going to get paid. They had no answers and I asked ‘Is there any federal relief coming?’ They had no idea.

“I mean, so many things we do are so essential that you can’t just stop doing it.”

ACR Health serves around 20,000 people a year with syringe exchanges, STD testing, food delivery and other medical support programs.

Murtaugh says they’re still here to serve communities, no matter what their financial situation is.

The state Department of Health told 7 News it has addressed the concerns raised by ACR and payments remain on schedule.

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