Nonprofit Newswire | Hospitals Serving Poor Face Budget Trauma in NY

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February 23, 2010; Times-Union | New York’s Governor David Patterson is proposing massive cuts to the public hospital system in his 2011 budget. Reports the New York Times, “The cuts, included in Gov. David A. Paterson’s executive budget proposal, could drain from the public hospitals up to $370 million, much of it in federal financing.” State officials are citing the end of stimulus money as a large part of the reason for the proposed cuts but the story questions that and points to a deal in the making. For many years, the hospital corporation received about $330 million annually in disproportionate share payments, a hospital official said, but in each of the last two years the agency received an additional $300 million to help it care for the steep increase in uninsured patients. In the governor’s proposal, he said, the public hospital system would lose all of that $300 million increase unless the Legislature approved $187 million in cuts to the same program for private hospitals. Says the Times, “The current budget struggle not only pits the state against the city, it also pits the public hospital system, the main safety net for the poor, against the city’s private, nonprofit hospitals, many of which are also struggling under the burden of a large number of poor patients.” Ugly stuff.—Ruth McCambridge