Local Leaders, NY Senate & Assemblymembers join Healthcare Workers, Labor Unions, Healthcare Employers for statewide call to action on budget that addresses the critical healthcare needs of New YorkersApril 27, 2023
Visual & Interview Opportunity
As budget negotiations get down to the wire, caregivers and providers say that legislators must hold the line against Gov. Hochul’s damaging Medicaid proposals.
Buffalo, NY — Across New York State, emergency rooms are flooded with patients waiting hours to be seen by a doctor. Nursing homes are experiencing severe staffing shortages that threaten to delay resident care. Three years of the pandemic have pushed conditions to the limit as New York’s healthcare system struggles to replenish its healthcare workforce and keep Medicaid-reliant providers open, amid significant funding gaps.
For every dollar of care that a Medicaid patient in New York receives, the healthcare provider is only reimbursed an average of 61 cents—a totally unsustainable arrangement which is pushing many institutions to the brink of closure. Failure to pass a timely budget has already caused a major lapse in healthcare funding, including the expiration of the 340b drug pricing program on April 1 which eliminated some $525 million to community hospitals.
"In order to maintain the services, jobs, and quality health care that New Yorkers depend on, we must increase the Medicaid reimbursement rate by at least 10%,” said Senator John W. Mannion. “Hospitals need to be fairly compensated for the care they provide and the state needs to prioritize the health and well-being of our most vulnerable communities," said Mannion.
Late Thursday, news leaked that a tentative budget deal has been reached that would increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for hospitals and nursing homes by 7.5% and 6.5%, respectively. Yet these numbers belie the fact that much of the industry is already in a -5% funding hole this year as a result of other cuts, and rising costs of care wipe out marginal funding gains.
Budget negotiations are about to enter their fifth week, and Governor Hochul is rejecting proposals contained in the Assembly and Senate one house budgets that would make critical investments to stabilize New York’s healthcare system—including a clean 10% increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates.
Recent polling has found that over three-quarters of New Yorkers favor the legislature’s one house budget proposals to raise Medicaid reimbursement rates so that they cover a larger share of the actual cost of care provided by doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes. New York’s budget must reflect voters’ priorities.
This week, Mayors from Upstate NY’s largest cities sent letters urging Governor Hochul to invest in healthcare in the state’s budget on behalf of their residents.
• City of Buffalo, Mayor Byron Brown
• Village of Gouverneur, Mayor Ronald McDougall
• City of Plattsburgh, Mayor Christopher C. Rosenquest
• City of Rochester, Mayor Malik Evans
• City of Syracuse, Mayor Ben Walsh
• City of Utica, Mayor Robert Palmieri
WHAT: Healthcare workers, providers, labor unions, local and state legislators will join rallies across New York state.
Friday, April 28
Buffalo: County Building, 92 Franklin St, Buffalo, NY 14202
Rochester: Strong Memorial Hospital, Flaum Atrium, 601 Elmwood Ave, Rochester, NY 14642
Syracuse: City Hall, 233 E. Washington St, Syracuse, NY 13202
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East President George Gresham:
“The Medicaid rate increases of 7.5% and 6.5% being advanced by the Governor are wholly inadequate to address the health care crisis facing our state. Providers serving the most vulnerable New Yorkers are emerging from the pandemic considerably weakened by soaring costs, the end of dedicated Federal funding and a decade of flat Medicaid rates. At a time of unprecedented need, Gov. Hochul has already cut funding for hospitals by $525 million by implementing the State’s Medicaid managed care ‘pharmacy carve-out’ on April 1. Any talk of increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates by an ‘historic’ amount must acknowledge that the Governor’s original proposed increase of 5% did not even fully restore the cuts. New Yorkers need a clean 10% increase in Medicaid rates for hospitals and nursing homes to ensure access to care in our most vulnerable communities. Deceptive math is not a replacement for the actual investment in care needed to protect the lives of New York’s patients and nursing home residents.”
Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) President Kenneth E. Raske
“New York has raised the Medicaid payment rate by just 1% in the last 15 years. Governor Hochul’s woefully inadequate proposed Medicaid rate increase of 7.5% for hospitals shows a stunning misunderstanding of the financial condition of New York’s hospitals. The situation could not be more dire. In addition to the Governor’s Medicaid cuts that wipe out her Medicaid rate increase, our hospitals’ immense fiscal challenges include Medicaid reimbursement rates that don’t come close to covering the cost of treating New Yorkers, rapidly rising labor costs driven by major workforce shortages, and entrenched inflation. Even a 10% Medicaid increase will not be enough to save some institutions, but it must be the bare minimum.”
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. We represent over 400,000 nurses and caregivers throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Florida. Our mission is to achieve quality care and good jobs for all.