Cuts to NY public hospital system include mental health, community care

Hundreds of job cuts, as well as the closing of several children's mental-health programs and community clinics are helping New York City's public hospital system save upwards of $105 million for the upcoming fiscal year that starts in July. Currently, hospitals in the system are facing a $316 million budget shortfall, according to the New York Times, and more jobs and service cuts could be announced in the next month. 

"This is the first round," Alan Aviles, president of New York's Health and Hospitals Corporation said. "We're only dealing with one-third of the problem." A decrease in Medicaid reimbursement, as well as increases in uninsured patients and the cost of labor and supplies, have been blamed for the moves. 

Nearly 400 jobs will be lost and community clinics that serve more than 11,000 patients will close, according to Aviles. New York state health commissioner Richard Daines said last week that the use of federal stimulus money for such matters was "still being negotiated." Daines, however, also pointed out in an email statement that "some cuts were necessary at a time of unprecedented fiscal crisis." 

Aviles wants Gov. David Paterson to use some of the $10 billion allocated to the state through the stimulus package for the public hospital system. Both public and private systems would like to see the money offset state cuts to healthcare. "We want him to realize our backs are against the wall at this point," Aviles said. Paterson, though, said he might use the money in different ways, unspecified by the article. 

To learn more:
- here's the New York Times story

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