Governor Patersonís Health Care Cuts Will Hurt Long Islandís Hospitals

A legislative column by Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (R,I,C,WF Ė Sag Harbor)
January 8, 2009
Last month, Governor Paterson unveiled his executive budget, which includes more than $1 billion in cuts to hospitals all across New York state. These cuts will result in a loss of almost $15 million in funding for hospitals that many residents of the 2nd Assembly District receive services from or are employed by. I have been pleased that our local hospitals, including Peconic Bay Medical Center, Eastern Long Island Hospital and, most recently, Southampton Hospital, have formed an agreement to work together with the University of Stony Brook and I hope that this progress will not be erased by these proposed health care cuts for which I am adamantly opposed.

The local hospitals slated to receive cuts in Governor Patersonís plan are:

  1. Brookhaven Memorial Hospital - 2,097,878
  2. Eastern Long Island Hospital - $247,807
  3. Peconic Bay Medical Center - $1,189,015
  4. Southampton Hospital - $1,360,625
  5. University Hospital at Stony Brook - $9,738,676

Included in these cuts is the restoration of the 0.7% tax of inpatient, outpatient and all other hospital net patient revenues, rebasing of inpatient acute care and exempt unit payments, $95 million in increased payments for hospital-based clinic services, $16 million in increased payments for medical home services and $20 million in increased payments to hospital-based physicians.

Although cuts to our state budget need to be made, we should not be targeting critical areas such as health care, which most greatly impact the lives of residents, especially young and elderly patients. Our hospitals are already feeling the pinch of a bad economy and if state funds are reduced, patient quality of care will be compromised and some hospitals may even be forced to close.

I am returning to Albany this week to begin the 2009 Legislative Session and I will make it a top priority to fight on behalf of local residents by stopping the proposed health care cuts. Constituents will be informed as to the progress of this yearís session. If you have any concerns or questions, please contact me at 631-537-2583.