SOS on NYC’s Public Hospitals

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (center) looks on as Anne Bové, RN, speaks against New York City’s “Tale of Two Hospital Systems.”

Demanding adequate and equitable federal, state and municipal funding for New York City’s public hospital system was the focus of an April 14 press conference on the steps of City Hall. NYSNA, with Save Our Safety Net Coalition (SOS-C) partners Doctors Council, SEIU, AFSCME, DC37, community health advocates, elected officials, and NYC H+H patients spoke of the pivotal role the public system plays in providing care to the uninsured, underinsured and immigrant communities.

Tale of two hospitals

“This city has a tale of two hospital systems: A public health system that provides access to all, and a private system that provides access to some,” said Anne Bové, RN, and President of NYSNA’s NYC H+H Executive Council. “H+H is the very foundation of healthcare in this city. You destroy it, and the whole system comes falling down.”

A consulting group hired by the City is expected soon to release a set of recommendations for finding “efficiencies” in the public hospital system. Advocates for the public system are skeptical. “We will not support calls for cuts or any attempts to dilute our public health system through privatization. The public’s interest is best served by a strong public health system and funding must align with that vision,” said NYC Public Advocate Letitia James.

Demand transparency

SOS-C is calling for the City to ensure transparency, community engagement and accountability in any process to reform the public hospital system and seeks to work with the City to make improvements in H+H in terms of quality care and to push the state and federal governments to help solve H+H’s financial issues. “Quality care takes money. We must choose to improve — not cut — resources to make our system the best it can be,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

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