FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
November 28, 2006
HHC President Responds to Hospital Closing Commission Report
Statement by HHC President Alan D. Aviles in response to report by the New York State Commission on Healthcare Facilities in the 21st Century
The Commission clearly recognized the significant gains that HHC has made in improving the efficiency of its hospital operations, engaging in an activist agenda to keep communities healthy and the importance of our mission to provide quality, affordable health care to all New Yorkers.
New York City’s public hospitals have undertaken extensive voluntary restructuring and right-sizing over the last decade. We eliminated more than 2,400 beds over that time, reduced our workforce by more than 9,000 employees, our system is currently running at more than 85 percent occupancy and has an average length of stay of less than five days – below the statewide average.
The addition of 40 beds for HHC’s Queens Hospital Center to enhance capacity in Eastern Queens further recognizes the strength of our system as well as how previous hospital closings have impacted the communities and populations served by the public hospitals.
The Commission’s recommendations, if implemented, will change the landscape of healthcare delivery in New York City. But closing facilities will only address part of the challenges.
A comprehensive industry restructure must address three major areas of reform. New York State must change reimbursement policies that currently create incentives for hospitals to follow the money by focusing on high income-generating specialty services at the expense of providing preventive care where loses can often exceed $100 per visit. New York State will need to invest in increasing access to preventive and primary care services that help prevent disease, detect illnesses early, connect patients with early treatment and keep people out of the hospital. And, the state must increase the numbers of New Yorkers who have health insurance coverage to ensure more children and adults can access health services early before their health conditions are acute and their care more costly.
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), the largest municipal hospital and health care system in the country, is a $4.9 billion public benefit corporation that serves 1.3 million New Yorkers and nearly 400,000 who are uninsured. HHC provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, four skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and more than 80 community based clinics. For more information about HHC, visit www.nyc.gov/hhc