Health and Safety

Last CPHS Meeting for Judy Wessler February 19th

January 30, 2013

This membership meeting will be the last for Judy Wessler as the Director of CPHS – so come and say good-bye.  It will also be the first meeting for Anthony Feliciano who will become the new Director of CPHS on Tuesday, February 19th – so come and be introduced or re-introduced as Anthony worked with CPHS in the past for five years.

This February 4th meeting at 6:30PM will take place at the Urban Justice Center, 123 William Street, 16th floor.

This is an important time in the history of CPHS, and a very exciting time.  In addition to the change in leadership, there has been much work going on and some great accomplishments.  CPHS coordinated a coalition of more than 20 unions and organizations to sponsor the Mayoral Forum on Public Health on January 16th.  The success of the forum depended on tremendous team work from most of the organizations involved.  LIU Brooklyn was very generous in offering the space of this event, and supporting the effort in many ways.  A panel questioned the candidates and got some great responses. 

The coalition produced an Issues Booklet that is currently available on the CPHS web site, on the What We Do page.  Questionnaires were sent to all of the known candidates, and the responses received will be made available to the public.  The four candidates who attended are:  John Liu, William Thompson, Sal Albanese, and Tom Allon.  Two other candidates cancelled shortly before the forum.

There are still serious concerns about the looming potential loss of hospital services in Central Brooklyn as the State Health Department is pushing a merger between Interfaith and Brooklyn Hospitals.  There is no guarantee that Interfaith would be able to continue providing needed services in its already medically underserved community.  The clergy and the community are mobilizing with a clear message of Save Our Hospital – Save Our Services.  Stay tuned for more information on proposed activities.  Also the Assembly Health Committee, along with the Brooklyn delegation, is holding a hearing on the Hospital Crisis in Brooklyn, at Brooklyn Borough Hall on Friday, February 8th, at 10:30 am.  Testimony is by invitation.

CPHS has been advocating for a change in the way that the state distributes the $1 billion, or so, of charity care dollars to hospitals for more years that we can count.  This year the state has to change the allocation method or lose even more federal dollars than we are already slated to lose from the Charity Care pool.  The federal law is very clear – the dollars are to pay for the care of the uninsured, not to pay for bad debt.  Much of the states’ current formula is used to pay for bad debt, e.g, an insurance company refuses to pay for a service.  As we have pushed for – “the money must follow the patient.”  High Medicaid hospitals should get additional funding, which could help some of the safety net hospitals now in trouble.  The Governor has proposed some language for change in his budget bill.  But there are still serious problems with what he is proposing. 

We are pleased to say that we worked with Assembly Health Committee Chair, Dick Gottfried and his staff, to develop an alternative proposal.  A. 2844 has been introduced and is much closer to what we believe will work and should happen.  A. 2844 would phase in changes in two years, rather than the three called for by the Governor.  IA. 2844 also requires an annual report on the impact of the new payment methodology on safety net providers (including rural and public hospitals) and access to care.  A. 2844 links the amount of funding to compliance with “Manny’s Law” requirements for hospitals to offer low-income uninsured patients financial assistance with hospital care. For additional information call 212-246-0803.

January 30, 2013

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