Nassau-suffolk Hospital Council And Long Island State Legislators Oppose Budget Cuts

Dean G. Skelos

March 02, 2007

Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council CEO Kevin Dahill, Mercy Medical Center CEO Alan Guerci and members of Long Island’s state legislative delegation today held a press conference opposing the significant funding cuts for the region’s hospital and nursing homes included within Governor Spitzer’s Executive Budget.

"Apparently, Governor Spitzer believes that Long Island is an ATM machine," said Senator Dean G. Skelos (R-Rockville Centre). "Whether it’s our schools or our hospitals and nursing homes, the Governor doesn’t believe that Long Island should receive its fair share. Like good schools, access to first-class health care facilities is critically-important to our quality-of-life and we’ll continue fighting to protect Long Island families."

"Long Island patients are the ones who will suffer the most from the Governor’s proposed Medicaid cuts to hospitals," said Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council CEO Kevin Dahill. "Our hospitals simply cannot survive these deep cuts. Without this revenue, you will see hospitals eliminate programs and services, and in some cases, shut their doors. The very same programs and services that communities have come to rely upon will no longer exist. That’s the reality of these proposed budget cuts."

Governor Spitzer’s Executive Budget reduces state health care funding by $1.3 billion. The proposed federal budget would cut up to another $1.28 billion from the state’s hospitals. The Governor’s plan would slash $68.5 million in Medicaid funding for hospitals in Nassau and Suffolk counties and another $77.6 million for the region’s nursing homes. In sum, the $146.1 million in Medicaid cuts for Long Island’s health care institutions dramatically exceeds the $45 million to $73 million in proposed federal cuts.

While the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council strongly supports the Governor’s concept to "put patients first," his budget cuts $1.3 billion in health care funding, but provides only $10.6 million toward the provision of comprehensive health care coverage for the state’s 400,000 uninsured children.

If enacted, Governor Spitzer’s Executive Budget would force many Long Island hospitals and nursing homes to eliminate programs and services, lay-off nurses and other staff and, potentially, close.