Fix the city's health care system for good
Oct 09, 2013 | 1640 views | 0 0 comments | 160 160 recommendations | email to a friend | print

While bad books and low patient numbers have threatened Brooklyn hospitals like Interfaith Medical Center and Long Island College Hospital (LICH) with possible shutdown over the past year, Methodist Hospital in Park Slope is actually planning to stack on extra floors and expand their facility.

As long as it can be done right with minimal impact to the historic community, that is great news for Park Slope and surrounding neighborhoods.

This is a slightly different tone that that of Cobble Hill community members just up the road who have been fighting with SUNY Downstate to save LICH from shutting down for the last year.

It took a court order from the Brooklyn Supreme Court to protect that hospital, while the state Department of Health came to the aid of Interfaith Medical with $33 million to keep the doors open.

Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Bushwick has reportedly been one of the few hospitals to see a surplus in 2012, roughly $3.8 million, after struggling to dig out of millions in deficits.

And the situation hasn't been much better in Queens, which lost St. John's Hospital a few years ago, and rumors abound that it faces losing a struggling hospital in the Rockaways, potentially leaving isolated community without a major health care facility.

While Governor Andrew Cuomo has yet to continue longstanding hospital subsidies, in most cases it seems as though the state is comfortable allowing downsizing in the midst of budget cuts.

Although Cuomo wrote a letter to the Health and Human Services back in May asking for a full amendment of New York’s 1115 Medicaid waver in order to “reinvest in the state’s health care system, pave the way for implementation for national health care reform and continue to make New York a national health care reform model,” hospitals may still be on the chopping block next year.

“Due to a rapid deterioration in the financial status of essential components of the health care services system in Brooklyn, if nothing is done within the next 12 months, the outcome will be disastrous,” Cuomo wrote.

It's time for the state – and the city as well - to get serious about thinking in the longterm when it comes to the state of health care in the five boroughs, and not just use band-aids and short-term fixes when it becomes an emergency situation.

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