Financial Woes for NYC Health + Hospitals

Tom DiNapoli, the State Comptroller of New York, is worried about the financial health of the NYC Health + Hospitals according to an article in The New York Post.

In a report Comptroller DiNapoli writes:

“As of December 1, 2015, the Corporation had enough cash on hand to meet its obligations for 30 days. Even after assuming the receipt of $800 million in supplemental Medicaid payments (which have not yet been approved by the federal government) later in FY 2016, the Corporation projects a closing cash balance of $102 million, which is enough to meet its cash obligations for six days, the lowest level in at least 15 years.”

He goes on to write:

“The Corporation’s financial outlook has deteriorated even though the City has provided additional financial assistance. For example, the City has agreed to fund the cost of new labor agreements at the Corporation for fiscal years 2014 through 2019 at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion. In addition, the City has not required the Corporation to reimburse the City for certain expenses it incurred on the Corporation’s behalf, such as medical malpractice and debt service. The Corporation did not reimburse the City for these costs in FY 2013 ($272 million), and the City allowed the Corporation to delay reimbursement for FY 2014 until FY 2016. The Corporation has not reimbursed the City for FY 2015 ($278 million), and currently has no plans to reimburse the City for these expenses for FY 2016 ($312 million) before the end of the fiscal year.”

Health + Hospitals is squeezed between decreased federal and state funding and the increased demands of being the primary safety net hospital in New York City.  The core of Health + Hospitals mission is moral: taking care of patients who are excluded from the ACA and not welcome at most NYC hospitals.  The city, state and federal government need to honestly confront the mismatch between that moral good, and the financial cost of providing it.  Pretending those patients and their needs don’t exist won’t make the problem go away.


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