Featuring: Barbara Caress, a health care consultant with long experience in non-profit, union, and public agency management and administration
James Parrott, Director of Economic and Fiscal Policies, Center for New York City Affairs
Co-authors of the report, On Restructuring the NYC Health+Hospitals Corporation, prepared for the New York State Nurses Association.
As we fight for the universal, single-payer system that we all deserve, we should also push for funding equity between our city's public and private (so-called "voluntary") hospitals and clinics. The recently renamed New York City Health + Hospitals (NYCH+H) bears a disproportionate burden of caring for Medicaid clients, the uninsured, and the undocumented. As Congress threatens devastating cuts in federal health funds, NYCH+H's budget – and deficit – grows annually while the system tries to accommodate the growing need. Right-wing think tanks blame the alleged "inefficiency" of these public-sector healthcare institutions and call for deep cuts.
In a detailed study for the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) published last fall, our two speakers – renowned experts on healthcare financing – demolish the argument that NYCH+H is at fault for the deficit, and that its hospitals fail to provide quality care. Rather, they find, NYCH+H is simply not adequately compensated for the inherently expensive care it provides to many patients – particularly emergency trauma care and treatment of substance abuse and psychiatric disorders. They conclude, "NYCH+H's fiscal problems cannot be fixed by closing hospitals, laying off staff, and cutting services."
Meanwhile, private hospital networks prosper, to some extent, at the expense of the public hospitals. Private sector providers can avoid heavy costs precisely because NYCH+H is there to assume this load. Despite their nonprofit charitable charters, private hospital systems have shifted the burden of caring for these low-income patients to the public system. Even as the number of uninsured New Yorkers declines, NYCH+H's share grows.
Join PNHP NY Metro for this free forum where we'll explore how we can fight for a fully-funded public healthcare sector, and how lucrative state and city subsidies to private hospitals need to be redirected to the institutions who serve the greatest needs.
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