Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Healthcare Rally at City Hall

New York City doctors and nurses are sounding a public health alarm on the stressed hospital network after Sandy.

Healthcare activists held a rally on the steps of New York's City Hall to demand that Mayor Michael Bloomberg do more to improve healthcare for survivors of Hurricane Sandy.

Sandy's floodwaters severely damaged NYU Medical Center, Bellevue Hospital, Coney Island Hospital, and Manhattan's VA Medical Center. Patients who would have sought care at those facilities are now turning to other hospitals that remain open. (WNBC)

Emergency room doctor Marisa Fernandez, who has been volunteering in the badly damaged Rockaways neighborhood, said, "We're having to recreate an entire healthcare infrastructure from scratch—everything ranging from assessment and triage of newly housebound individuals, to mobile clinics." (Zimbio)

Despite what some hospital administrators have claimed, Sandy turned out to be exactly what weather forecasters were predicting, so while the Manhattan VA and NY Downtown were evacuated before the storm hit, Bellevue, Coney Island and NYU Langone waited until after. We can't say for sure why--but certainly the loss of revenue may have been a factor in that decision. Even public hospitals depend on reimbursements from patient visits to stay financially viable. (Socialist Worker)

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