For Immediate Release: October 4, 2010
Contacts: Antonio Rodriguez (Huntley) | (518) 455-3531
Jane Carey (Lancman) | (718) 820-0241
Huntley/Lancman “Hospital Closure Planning Act” Signed Into Law
Bill Requires State To Address Impact Of Hospital Closings On Communities
Governor Paterson has signed the “Hospital Closure Planning Act” ( A.10748A/S.7483A ) into law. The Act was sponsored by Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Queens) and Senator Shirley L. Huntley (D-Jamaica) and was the product of yearlong negotiations with the Governor’s office.
The law requires the NYS Department of Health to hold a public forum and report on the impact of a hospital's closure on the surrounding community's access to medical care. The legislation comes in response to the recent closings of Mary Immaculate and St. John’s hospitals in Queens, and St. Vincent's hospital in Manhattan, where in each instance the state lacked a clear and comprehensive plan for how to meet the ongoing healthcare needs of those affected communities. The Governor vetoed similar legislation last year (video of a 2009 press conference urging Governor Paterson to sign the bill before it was vetoed can be viewed here and a 2010 press conference can be viewed here ), and the new bill was drafted with the cooperation of the state department of health and the executive chamber to address the Governor’s concerns.
“The passage of this new law is a great victory for all New Yorkers who rely on their community hospitals to provide accessible quality medical care,” said Assemblyman Lancman. “Communities deserve an honest assessment of a hospital closing's impact, and a plan for serving their healthcare needs, and this new law will provide both.”
“Losing a hospital can adversely affect a community and its residents. We’ve seen it happen here in Southeast Queens and most recently in Manhattan, with the closing of St. Vincent’s hospital . Due to current economic climate New York State is facing we must ensure that neighborhoods across the state can access alternative health care when a hospital closes. It is equally important to involve communities in the planned closure of a hospital and in replacing the most important services residents rely on. The residents of the community where a hospital is located have the best understanding of the services they need and what needs to be done,” said Senator Shirley L. Huntley.