Saturday, December 8, 2012

New York Politicians Close Hospitals, Endanger Public Health

Andrew-Cuomo-Breezy-Point-Burns-Nero-Rome-Hospital-Closings

Update On Hospital Activism In New York City Following Hurricane Sandy Aftermath, Berger Commission Scorched Earth Campaign, and Medicaid Redesign Team Destruction

The latest article about the hospital closings in New York City caused by Hurricane Sandy shows that the irresponsible Berger Commission and Medicaid Redesign Team actions to close down hospitals is endangering public health.

The math is unforgiving: people get sick, and they now have nowhere else to go, a problem exacerbated by the shutdown of St. Vincent’s hospital in the West Village. Last year, emergency rooms at the city’s Bellevue Hospital Center and the private NYU Langone Medical Center saw nearly 150,000 patients combined, according to state Department of Health data. In November alone, the third busiest month for both hospitals, more 14,000 patients received care. And the lion’s share are now being cared for by Beth Israel. (The New York World)

Note : the closing of St. Vincent's wasn't only tied to the attitude up in Albany to close hospitals under the severe safety net-shredding Berger/MRT austerity budget cuts, but also due to the self-seeking motivations by politicians, such as New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Some of the St. Vincent's activists have launched a letter-writing campaign to newspapers ; Gov. Cuomo ; and to Dr. Shah, the health commish.

Urgent care needed
Manhattan: Rep. Gregory Meeks and Anthony Weiner’s guest column on the need for a hospital to serve the Rockaways, especially after Sandy, points up the need for a safety net everywhere (“The Rockaways, on solid ground,” Nov. 28). The lower west quadrant of Manhattan has had no hospital since St. Vincent’s closed. In addition, several nearby hospitals were forced to shut down temporarily because of Sandy. We need well-constructed, full-service hospitals in good strategic positions to serve communities and avoid storm damage. -- Carol F. Yost

Despite Public Health Risks Caused By Hurricane Sandy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo Is Still Dangerously Obsessed With Closing More Hospitals.

Meanwhile, given the dire hospital situation in Brooklyn (Interfaith Files For Bankruptcy ; Half of Brooklyn hospitals on life support), nobody knows if the healthcare money from Hurricane Sandy aid will be used to make sure that we equally meet the healthcare needs of patients across all five boroughs.

When Hurricane Sandy struck, NYU Langone was in the middle of fundraising for a $3 billion renovation/upgrade. Few hospitals have those kinds of resources.

But of the first $200 million in federal aid receive for hurricane relief, Langone received $114 million. (NY Daily News) * How are politicians prioritising which medical centers get funded ? Based on need, or based on the corruptive influence of special interests ?

No word yet on whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo will set aside some of the billions in hurricane relief aid to fund a healthcare system that will equally meet the healthcare needs of patients across all five boroughs of New York City, much less the resumption of operations at Bellevue and Coney Island hospitals.

Look for healthcare activists to escalate their protests, to push back on these irresponsible healthcare cuts that impact poor people. Research shows that because we do not have a truly universal, single-payer healthcare system, the network of fractured healthcare providers that we do have do not make available healthcare services to everybody, equally. One of the leading reasons that poor people rely on hospitals or emergency rooms for healthcare is because there are few physicians with medical practices in their neighborhoods, much less a true means for poor people to afford primary healthcare. Given that Gov. Cuomo is now targeting the less wealthy central neighborhoods of Brooklyn for hospital closings, the governor is gutting the few remaining safety net healthcare services still available to the uninsured and underinsured. How much can the governor cut healthcare before people start suffering for lack of emergency medical treatment ?

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