Senator Dilan Responds To The State Commission On Health Care Facilities In The 21st Century’s Final Report

Martin Malavé Dilan

March 19, 2009

State Senator Martin Malavé Dilan today responded to the State Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, also known as the Berger Commission Report, which outlined ways to trim some of the fat from the state’s bloated health care system.

For the last 18 months the Berger Commission has been researching hospitals and nursing homes all across the state in order to find and eliminate waste and mismanagement. The final report cited nine hospitals and seven nursing homes that should be closed. The report also calls for the restructuring, merging or downsizing of dozens of other facilities.

“While the report is effective and appears to accomplish its goal, I find it disturbing that, in light of repeated calls to reform state government, that the Commission would release its findings at a time when the Legislature is not even in session. This timing seems convenient given that if the legislature does not act by December 31st the recommendations of the Commission automatically go into effect.

“Unfortunately, due to years of mismanagement and a lack of state oversight, the health care system has forced us to make these kinds of hard decisions regarding the day to day operations of our hospitals and nursing homes. However, while working to reign in skyrocketing health care costs, we must also be sure to guarantee that all New Yorkers have access to quality affordable health care. It is also important that we have adequate time to fully consider all of the Berger Commission’s findings and suggestions,” Senator Dilan stated.

Currently, the Senate is reviewing the Commission’s recommendations to ensure it fairly and equitably represent the needs of the communities they affect. SenateMinority Membersare working with Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer to develop a new and innovative health care system, one that works within the framework of the Berger Commission’s report.

“What we need is a streamlined system. The Berger Commission is a step in that direction, but we need to make sure that changes and service cuts do not come at the expense of our most vulnerable citizens. It is my goal to guarantee that by cutting costs, we are not shifting resources from people that need them most,” said Senator Dilan.