Last Wednesday, we announced that a letter of intent had been signed by Primary Health Systems, Inc. for a 49-year lease on Coney Island Hospital.
When I ran for Mayor, I promised to address the chronic problems of our Public Hospital System -- a system that in many ways is out of step with the realities of the current health marketplace.
I made this a priority of my administration, because our public hospitals were simply not providing the kind of quality care that New Yorkers need and deserve. New York City-owned hospitals were consistently rated among the worst and most expensive in the nation.
Our hospital system was built before Medicaid, Medicare and the charity pool existed to fund medical care for the poor. Now, we've been left with what is essentially a muscle-bound and outdated system that includes 11 city-owned acute care hospitals.
By turning over some of our city hospitals to privately-owned concerns, we can tap private sector resources and expertise, improving the quality of care for all of our citizens and the bottom line for our city.
When we first proposed privatizing some of our hospitals, the cynics and naysayers were quick to deride our efforts, saying no private concern would be interested. Well, the same way they were wrong about our ability to reduce crime, to reform our welfare system and to revitalize our economy, the cynics are also wrong about our hospital system. Once again, New York has met the challenge of reform and progress.
The letter of intent signed last week includes: a guarantee to care for all residents regardless of their ability to pay; assumption by Primary Health Systems of the full indigent care commitment; community involvement in the governance structure of the facility; and publicly accountable standards for the quality of care.
And Primary Health Systems has agreed to make substantial capital improvements to the hospital, take care of routine capital expenses, and assume the hospital's existing debt service.
Additionally, to protect our municipal work force, Primary Health Systems has agreed to deal in good faith with the existing unions.
The fact is that 15, or 20 years from now, New York City won't own 11 acute care hospitals. The current system isn't working and it doesn't make sense.
With the signing of the letter of intent for the long-term lease of Coney Island Hospital, we have taken the first step toward preparing our hospital system for the 21st Century, and the first step towards achieving our ultimate goal of providing all New Yorkers with the very best medical care in the world.
From Gracie Mansion, this is Rudy Giuliani.