Doctors Council in the NY Daily News; a Letter to the Editor

The letter to the Editor below appeared in the NY Daily News over the weekend. We contributed and signed on to this letter as part of a coalition of community groups and health care unions that advocate to protect and preserve the NYC Health + Hospitals.  There are many challenges facing H+H, and if other hospital systems close or downsize, this impacts us.  H+H must receive its fair and needed funding.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Beth Israel’s future & Bellevue

Manhattan: Re your May 29 editorial “Prescription for Bill”: Though there has been much discussion about the proposed restructuring of Beth Israel Hospital, absent from the discussion to date is an answer to this simple and self-evident question: If Mount Sinai is committed to this transformation to outpatient care at its facilities, including a reconfigured Beth Israel, who is geographically poised to meet the inpatient needs of this community?

The obvious answer geographically is Bellevue Hospital Center — and that should add even more urgency to solving the funding crisis that New York Health + Hospitals finds itself in.

According to the most recent data, 57.25% of Beth Israel patients are either uninsured or recipients of Medicaid. Meanwhile 65% of the inpatient discharges and 74% of the emergency room visits at Bellevue are on Medicaid or uninsured, owing to its policy to accept all patients, no matter their ability to pay.

Bellevue is an essential part of the public hospital system; it is our largest public hospital and runs at or near capacity. An influx of patients from a reduced Beth Israel will undoubtedly intensify the financial challenges Bellevue already faces, and demands a commitment from state leaders to provide sufficient resources.

The planned reduction of inpatient services at Beth Israel adds urgency to our call for the support of fair funding of public hospitals, commensurate with the high volume of high-need patients, be they uninsured, working families on Medicaid, or undocumented immigrants shut out from many of the publicly funded coverage options.

NYC’s public hospital system provides care to one in five New Yorkers and, with Beth Israel’s restructuring, thousands more will seek inpatient care within that system over the next few years.

All New Yorkers deserve quality care — no matter their neighborhood or income level. With fair funding and support, we can achieve this essential goal.

Judy Wessler, Save Our Safety Net Campaign

Anthony Feliciano, Commission on the Public’s Health System

Dr. Eve Kellner, president, Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU

Dr. Frank Proscia, president, Doctors Council/SEIU

Anne Bové, RN, president, NYSNA NYC H+H Executive Council

Henry Garrido, executive director, District Council 37 AFSCME

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