We’re All in This Together!  For Our Patients, Our Communities and Our Public Health System

Dear Doctors Council SEIU member,

Just this past Sunday, May 8th, both the New York Post and the New York Times published articles attacking Health + Hospitals (H+H)- New York City’s public hospital and healthcare system.

The New York Post front page story used an “anonymous” source to call Coney Island Hospital a “Hell Hospital” and criticized the care provided by and professionalism of the nurses and doctors.  Unsubstantiated and unprofessional allegations centered around  the care received by children. The experiences described by “Anonymous” fly in the face of descriptions of millions of hospital visits of New Yorkers to H + H facilities around the City. The article questions the dedication of the staff and nothing could be further from the truth as the doctors and nurses of Coney Island Hospital work hard every day to provide quality care and an excellent patient experience.

The New York Times story, also on its front page, reported on Lincoln Hospital about the care provided to a gunshot victim who ultimately died.  Lincoln Hospital is a premier Level 1 Trauma Center and one of the busiest in the country. This was a misguided attempt to blame the doctors, nurses and other caregivers as Lincoln Hospital provides excellent care every day.

Doctors Council and our healthcare union allies since Sunday immediately worked together and with the Mayoral administration and Dr. Raju, President of H+H, to push back and defend the care provided to our patients in H+H, and stand up and speak out for our dedicated doctors and other members of the care delivery team.  We wrote a Letter to the New York Post Editor and a Letter to the New York Times Editor that responded to these attacks on our public hospital system.  H+H also is responding to these attack stories  and Dr. Raju has sent a strong message to Coney Island employees.

Make no mistake:  there are those who want to see H+H hospitals and facilities close.  

Doctors Council is working with a coalition of healthcare unions and community organizations to protect H+H.  On April 14th, we rallied on the steps of City Hall in support of H+H and our public safety-net system.  H+H Cares for All New Yorkers and is the Safety-Net for Everyone.  H+H does not receive its fair share of funding, especially based on the number and percentage of Medicaid patients it treats, as well as caring for immigrants (who do not qualify for health care under the ACA).  Vitally needed funds for H+H are shrinking.

The Mayor released a report “One New York: Health Care for Our Neighborhoods,” that lays out the problems facing H+H, especially financial issues in a changing healthcare environment,  and a plan to move H+H forward in alignment with Dr. Raju’s Vision 2020.

But, H+H is under attack. There will be more and more calls for closures and cuts.  We will fight back!  We will protect H+H and the public safety-net system because it is the right thing to do for our patients and the communities we serve. That’s why doctors, nurses, public health experts and community members are constantly calling for full and adequate funding of the public system and will be in Albany next week advocating on this vital issue.

We will defend our members, because it is the right thing to do.  I have had the pleasure to get to know many of you over the years. I know that each of you chose to work where you are because you believe in public healthcare.  Our doctors who work in the New York City Health + Hospitals (H+H) believe in the mission that healthcare is a right for everyone, as H+H has always done: that everyone has a right to access to quality and affordable care regardless of who you are, your ability to pay, your zip code or immigration status.

We stand together with Coney Island Hospital.
We stand together with Lincoln Hospital. 

We will continue our advocacy in the weeks and months ahead.  I call on each of you to join us in these efforts. Together, we are united in serving our patients and communities and protecting the care and services that we provide every day.

If you have not already done so, please complete this COPE Form (fill out top part regarding COPE and print your name, sign and date it) and return it to us by fax at 212-481-4137 or email to info@doctorscouncil.org.  Our COPE program enables us to get our message out to elected officials about the critical importance of maintaining the public safety-net system and where we work.  Please do your part and return the Form today. 

In Unity,

Frank Proscia, M.D.
Doctors Council President

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