For Immediate Release
Contact: Robin Wood, 518.782.9400, ext 223
LATHAM, March 8, 2011 – The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) has launched a multi-media advertising campaign to draw attention to the flaws in existing plans for $2.3 billion in reductions proposed for the Medicaid program. The ad campaign advocates for a “go slower” approach on Medicaid reform to allow time for a carefully considered Medicaid redesign process. Medicaid serves 4.7 million of New York’s most vulnerable residents and is a linchpin for the state’s healthcare safety net.
“The proposed $2.3 billion in cuts to the Medicaid program is too much, too fast,” said Tina Gerardi, MS, RN, CAE, CEO of the Nurses Association. “We owe it to the public to have a more transparent process and to make sure that all the reforms adopted contribute to improving care and managing costs.”
The ad campaign theme, Let’s do it right, and its resource page, www.nysna.org/doitright, tell the public that there’s a better route to Medicaid reform. Reconsidering revenue-generating ideas – including extending the income tax surcharge on high-income earners – will allow legislative and industry leaders the time needed to continue gathering and vetting innovative ideas for a longer-term Medicaid redesign process.
“The Medicaid redesign process has so far generated some good ideas, but the current budget plan also includes a number of proposals that don’t save money, have the potential for serious unintended consequences and reverse some important consumer protections,” said Shaun Flynn, director of Governmental Affairs for the Nurses Association.
For example, Governor Cuomo’s budget recommends suspending the Nursing Care Quality Protection Act, a public health law that requires hospitals, nursing homes and diagnostic and treatment centers to disclose specific information concerning nursing quality indicators, staffing and complaints made against the facility. This important law is designed to provide consumers with information that will help them make better healthcare decisions.
Additionally, a key provision of the Governor’s plan is an annual cap on spending by the Medicaid program, encouraging providers to voluntarily reduce spending if overall state costs are rising. Experience has shown that providers often cut spending by cutting vital staff and services. If the state’s spending exceeded the cap, the proposal would also give the Commissioner of Health broad new powers to enact utilization controls and rate reductions – without legislative oversight or consumer involvement.
“The Medicaid program is just too important to the care and well-being of our state for us to rush into these kinds of changes,” Gerardi said. “New York needs to make sure we make improvements to Medicaid that don’t end up costing us much more than we save.”
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 37,000 members, it is the state's largest professional association and union for registered nurses. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.
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