Senator Malcolm A. Smith Restores State Funding For Queens Hospitals And Nursing Homes

Malcolm A. Smith

April 25, 2007

State Senator Malcolm A. Smith today announced that hospitals and nursing homes in the Southeast Queens community will receive an additional $14.2 million in revenue as a result of his opposition to proposed healthcare spending cuts in the 2007-2008 Executive Budget. The Senate Democratic Leader said he fought to restore substantial healthcare funds to keep the focus on patients, where it rightly belongs.

"The people of Queens need more health care, not less," said Senator Smith. "I believe the proposed budgetary cuts would have devastated the people and healthcare institutions in my district. During recent budget negotiations, I did everything in my power to offset those potential losses and restore sufficient funds to address the pressing healthcare needs of my constituents."

For Episcopal Health Services and Peninsula Hospital Center, the two hospitals located in the 14th Senatorial District, the Governor proposed to cut $810,000 in Medicaid reimbursement. Senate Democrats not only restored this amount entirely, but added an additional $1.2 million for a total of $2.1 million in the next fiscal year. The Legislature added the following amounts to the hospitals in Senator Smith's district:

• Episcopal Health Services $660,000
(St. John's Episcopal Hospital)
• Peninsula Hospital Center $1.5 million

"I also recognized the need to restore funds for nursing homes, which serve some of our most vulnerable residents," Senator Smith said. "The proposed cuts, while well-intended, would have adversely affected the quality of life for my constituents who reside in a long-term care setting. I believe it is our solemn responsibility to ensure that there is an effective safety net for our disabled and elderly in need of residential care."

Nursing home restorations were determined, in part, by a new formula to redistribute workforce recruitment and retention funding. Currently, workforce recruitment and retention funding is based on facility labor costs. The new methodology will distribute 50% of the funds based on nursing homes labor costs and 50% based on total Medicaid revenue. This change was intended to distribute funding in a more equitable manner.

All totaled, the Legislature restored $12 million to the 14th Senatorial District nursing homes to lessen the effects of the proposed cuts. The restorations, to be distributed among the following nursing homes, are:

• Bezalel Rehabilitation $390,000
• Bishop Charles Waldo $600,000
• Brookhaven Rehabilitation $690,000
• Fairview Nursing Care Center $640,000
• Far Rockaway Nursing Home $120,000
• Forest View Ctr. for Rehab. $1 million
• Haven Manor Health Care $890,000

Senator Smith Restores Funding for Hospitals and Nursing Homes,

• Holliswood Care Center $790,000
• Lawrence Nursing Care $640,000
• Meadow Park Rehabilitation $340,000
• New Surfside Nursing Home $270,000
• Ocean Promenade Nursing Home $290,000
• Park Nursing Home $250,000
• Peninsula Center Extended Care $900,000
• Promenade Rehabilitation $560,000
• Queen of Peace Residence $110,000
• Queens Nassau Rehabilitation $280,000
• Resort Nursing Home $410,000
• Rockaway Care Center $370,000
• Silvercrest $1.86 million
• West Lawrence Care Center $490,000

Senator Smith said nearby Jamaica Hospital Medical Center also benefited from his efforts. With a Legislative add of $342,000 in addition to the Governor's proposal, the facility will receive an extra $2.19 million in Medicaid reimbursement.

"This is a long-term investment in precisely the kinds of medical care that constituents have asked me to protect," Senator Smith said. "They say, and I certainly agree, that our local health care institutions are the heart and soul of our community. Indeed, I would like to express my deep gratitude to every health care worker who lives or works in my district. Your tireless effort and passion in helping those less fortunate is truly an inspiration.

"There were many good and progressive elements in the Governor's proposed healthcare budget," Senator Smith concluded. "One example is his plan to expand state-subsidized health insurance to provide coverage for nearly all of New York's 400,000 uninsured children. With that said, however, let me be clear: my first priority is, and always will be, what's best for the people and businesses in my community. That's why we in the Senate Democratic Conference took a good budget and made it better."