Transforming the Healthcare landscape in Central Brooklyn

November 29, 2016

1199SEIU members from Central Brooklyn hospitals came together on November 21st, along with members of sister unions and local community allies, to hear a summary of the latest proposal to revamp of Brooklyn’s healthcare system.

Paul Francis, the Deputy Secretary for Health in New York State, introduced the feasibility study commissioned by the state and carried out by Northwell Health, which contemplates a reduction of over 750 inpatient jobs but recommends creating 800 new jobs in the outpatient sector during the transformation period.

According to Francis, the plan is designed to maintain current employment levels overall and it proposes that: “No current employee covered by labor agreements will experience a reduction in compensation or benefits.

“That is a principle that we feel very strongly about. It is a commitment we need to make,” added Francis.

At the moment, the four hospitals located in Central Brooklyn: Brookdale, Kingsbrook, Wycoff and Interfaith are receiving substantial subsidies from Albany because they are not financially viable. In addition, racially disparate health outcomes and rates of chronic disease remain too high in their service areas.

Paulette Forbes, an 1199SEIU delegate and advanced imaging technologist at Brookdale hospital, agreed that the healthcare system in Central Brooklyn needed to improve and the change should begin as soon as possible “as long as the new jobs are union jobs.”

“I have my walking shoes and I’m ready to go wherever we need to go to make sure that our union remains alive and well in Central Brooklyn.”

Jeffrey Kraut, Vice President of Strategy at Northwell Health said the fresh proposal aimed to provide a road map on how to use all the available resources for the benefit of the whole. This would mean cutting back on some services currently provided by the hospitals and opening up roughly 36 new outpatient facilities around Brooklyn.

Under the plan, Brookdale, Interfaith, and Wycoff will continue to provide specialist inpatient care and Kingsbrook will evolve into a regional campus for post-acute and specialized outpatient care, with a special focus on addressing some of the social factors that contribute to ill health in the borough.

“Everyone wants to live in Brooklyn, but very few people want to get their health care in Brooklyn,” said Kraut, “Our proposals have set out to change that.”

He did sound a note of caution, though. “Whatever happens to Medicaid funding in the future will dramatically affect the future of these hospitals and the community’s ability to transform the health care landscape.”

There will be a $700 million capital injection from Albany as well as continued revenue support to ease the transition, which will take at least seven years. But additional funding streams will need to be found in order to carry out the full plan, added Kraut.