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Healthcare providers brace for Medicaid cuts

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The New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. held a news conference Oct. 26 in the lobby of Bellevue Hospital Center to call attention to the proposed cuts in Medicaid and the harmful results they may have on the health system and its patients.

Joined by community activists, HHC staff and small business owners, HHC president Alan D. Aviles and National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems president and CEO Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, spoke about how the potential cuts could prove harmful to the largest NAPH member. The cuts, they said, would put the long-term financial stability of HHC at risk. The health system disproportionately serves the poor and receives a large portion of its funding from Medicaid.

Bellevue Hospital clinical nursing instructor Anne Bove, RN, MSN, BC, CCRN, offered nursing perspective on the potential cuts. “I’ve worked here at Bellevue for 34 years,” said Bove, a New York State Nurses Association representative for the hospital. “I went to nursing school across the street at Hunter. The loss of jobs in this community would have a ripple effect. This hospital is literally a lifeline for those with no insurance. We must look at more innovative methods instead of cuts, like health homes and other accountable care solutions.”

Small business owners Steve Tartaria, a restaurant owner, and Julie Shadran, proprietor of a medical and hospital supply store across from HHC’s Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center in Brooklyn, explained their businesses rely upon HHC staff to thrive.

Grace Otto, RN, left, and Anne Bove, RN, represented nursing at the Oct. 26 New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. news conference.

Siegel shared the results of an NAPH analysis that showed how HHC contributed $11.7 billion in fiscal year 2009 and supported more than 71,600 jobs in the five boroughs it serves. Public healthcare safety-net providers such as HHC not only keep their communities healthy, but also provide economic stability for members of those communities.

“Safety-net providers are being stretched to the breaking point to keep up with the increasing demand for their services and cannot withstand further cuts,” Siegel said. “Reductions to Medicaid would not only harm Medicaid enrollees, but also force safety-net healthcare systems to scale back, reducing jobs and the vital support to the economies in the communities they serve.”

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Tracey Boyd is a regional reporter. Send letters to editorNY@nurse.com or post a comment below.

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