LOCKPORT – The last patients of the Niagara County Health Department’s home-care programs for senior citizens will be transferred to the Catholic Health System by Dec. 29.

Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton told the Board of Health on Thursday that the last patient in the Certified Home Health Aide program is due to be switched Friday to the Catholic system’s McAuley Seton program.

As of Monday, there were 53 patients still receiving services from the county’s Long-Term Home Health Care program. Stapleton said all will come under Catholic auspices by Dec. 29, with 17 to make the transition next week.

Patients don’t have to stay with McAuley Seton, however. They are free to make their own arrangements with another provider.

The County Legislature sold the non-mandated programs to Catholic Health in February for $2.65 million. The state Health Department approved the deal in October.

Many of the Health Department’s nurses left in advance of the changeover, but six positions were still around long enough to be eliminated in County Manager Jeffrey M. Glatz’s proposed 2013 budget, which the Legislature is to vote upon Dec. 18.

In other matters at its meeting, the Board of Health fined the Rite Aid drugstore in Ransomville $850 for selling cigarettes to a minor.

The sale was made during an undercover compliance check at the store Aug. 17, 2011. The formal hearing on a penalty wasn’t held until two months ago.

Assistant County Attorney Gary Lisowski said the normal fine of $1,000 was reduced because the clerk who sold the cigarettes had gone through a training program.

“She went through the training but didn’t abide by it,” said Board of Health President Dr. Elizabeth Micoli.

Thursday’s session was the last as president for Micoli, a Lockport dentist. The board voted unanimously to have Dr. Jerome Ulatowski II, a Lewiston pediatrician, succeed her in 2013.

Dr. Robert M. Bauer, a Lockport orthopedic surgeon, was elected vice president for the coming year.

On another subject, Lisa Chester, director of the Children with Special Needs program, reported that the county will be able to discontinue a billing service to providers in the early intervention program.

The state is scheduled to take over provider billing as of April 1, allowing the county to give up a contract with Health Economics Groups of Rochester, which was to be paid $103,000 this year to handle the chore.

Environmental Health Director James J. Devald reported that the Healthy Neighborhoods Program was busy in Niagara Falls’ poorest sections this year.

The grant-funded program distributed 749 fire-protection products, such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Its workers also installed 527 carbon monoxide detectors, 77 radon detectors, and 118 lead paint cleanup buckets.