September 30, 2016
By Stephanie West
Brooklyn, NY – Hundreds of 1199SEIU members, public officials and community representatives came together in East Flatbush on September 22 to discuss Brooklyn’s healthcare system – which is currently in financial crisis.
James Introne, former Deputy Secretary for Health in New York State, has been tasked with overseeing the redesign initiative. He told members: “1199SEIU principles are our principles.” He explained that Northwell Health (formerly North Shore-LIJ Health System) had been asked to produce a feasibility study with proposals on how to upgrade local health services in Brooklyn. He expects the results of study to be made public in mid-October.
Presently four hospitals located in Central Brooklyn are receiving substantial subsidies from New York State: Brookdale, Kingsbrook, Wycoff and Interfaith. The state is planning an additional investment of $700,000 for more outpatient clinics and upgrade of equipment.
Veronica Turner-Biggs, Senior Executive Vice President for Downstate Health Systems at 1199SEIU, said that more money would be needed to ensure access to high quality health care. She also said that a re-structure of the current system was badly needed, “Our fight should be about jobs and services, not about beds and buildings.”
Paulette Forbes, an 1199SEIU delegate and advanced imaging technologist at Brookdale hospital, said: “What is really important is maintaining quality services for the community. At the same time, our hospitals need to stand on their own two feet financially. We want to be sustainable and have security – not to be living hand-to-mouth.”
As soon as the feasibility study is completed, Introne promised to come back to Brooklyn to speak to 1199SEIU members and community representatives to hear their views.