Public Reports and Testimonies
Annual Public Meeting Bronx
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Remarks by Ram Raju, MD
As President and CEO of the Health and Hospitals Corporation, I am glad to welcome you to tonight’s meeting. The Board and I deeply appreciate that you have taken time out of your busy lives to attend.
By showing up this evening, and at countless other meetings and events throughout the year, you are demonstrating a level of commitment to New York City’s public hospital system that makes it the nation’s largest and strongest.
One of the ways our City is unique is that New Yorkers have historically recognized the need for a public hospital system, because we understand that public hospitals are essential to keeping the City healthy and safe.
One need look no further than last October’s Ebola scare to illustrate this point. When the City was threatened, the Health and Hospitals Corporation was confident, ready, and prepared. We partnered with the Mayor’s Office, The Office of Emergency Management, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the State to step forward and safeguard the health of every New Yorker.
And that’s exactly what we did.
Our patient returned to good health.
The City was protected.
And the threat of epidemic and panic gave way to public understanding that forethought, training, and planning by public health officials had proven entirely effective.
That incident is just one recent example of why New Yorkers have historically supported a strong public hospitals system --- --- a system that combines top quality care with a commitment to serve every New Yorker in need.
The tremendous tie our hospitals, diagnostic treatment centers, and clinics have to the communities we serve across the city, remains the foundation of the Health and Hospitals Corporation’s strength, and its endurance.
However, the fact is, the Health and Hospitals Corporation needs your support more than ever before. That is because today’s healthcare landscape is undergoing great change. And these changes pose challenges to public hospitals systems across the country, and here in New York.
For example, the Affordable Care Act has made insurance available for many people who now for the first time, have options to seek care elsewhere if they choose.
And although the ACA reform does not extend health insurance coverage to undocumented New Yorkers, Federal funding for “Safety Net” hospitals is being reduced nonetheless.
At the same time major reforms to Medicare and Medicaid are driving big changes in the way we deliver health care to our patients, and in the way we are reimbursed by third party payers for services provided to patients.
In order to survive ---- --- In order to continue serving the nearly 1.4 million New Yorkers who seek our care each year, the Health and Hospitals Corporation is striving each and every day to meet these challenges.
We are committed to securing our essential role as New York City’s Public Hospitals system, and to ensuring that we continue fulfilling our mission of providing health care for all.
Last month we announced Vision 2020. This is an ambitious agenda which will position the Corporation more competitively, by building on transformational work done over the past two decades that produced outstanding quality and safety achievements.
Vision 2020 sets strategic priorities for achieving improved levels of patient satisfaction at each of our facilities. Vision 2020 also calls for expanding access to care, building our patient base, and securing the system’s financial stability all within the next 5 years.
Meeting each of these goals is necessary --- --- It’s necessary for the public hospital system to continue providing highest quality, cost-effective, culturally competent, and geographically convenient health care services to all New Yorkers.
In 2014, 313,764 New Yorkers accessed Health and Hospitals Corporation services at our Bronx facilities.
From Woodlawn to Mount Hope ---
The Public Hospital system has been here for residents of The Bronx for generation after generation.
We have been here for the city’s workforce which depends on our services disproportionately.
And we’ve been here for the tens of thousands of our employees who work at facilities across the city.
We’ve were here for the approximately 98,342 uninsured patients who accessed our care in the Bronx last year.
And I’m here to say tonight that we will absolutely continue to be here for the Bronx in the future.
And New Yorkers seeking care at our Bronx facilities can do so with confidence that our operations are stronger than ever.
Just earlier this month, Lincoln Hospital was awarded accreditation by the Joint Commission.
North Central Bronx Hospital received three year accreditation last year, as did Jacobi Medical Center in 2013.
But before we proceed with tonight’s meeting, let me quickly mention a few noteworthy transformational efforts at facilities here in the Bronx:
At the same time, the Labor & Delivery unit has received a $2 million modernization for physical upgrades and installation of new equipment and technology.
Private labor and delivery rooms with updated furnishings create a more pleasant ambience for patients during their stay.
Community input was an essential component to successfully reopening the Labor & Delivery unit. Your voices lead to strong City Council support, and ultimately, to a pivotal $600,000 allocation.
Since re-opening nearly 500 babies have been delivered, including over 100 babies in March 2015.
1400 women received pregnancy related medical services in the new unit as of last month. These metrics strongly indicate effective community outreach and the successful resumption of services that we can all be proud of.
Strategic interventions like these are enabling us to reduce the amount of time patients spend in the hospital, while ensuring that they receive proactive and ongoing treatment. We also help them maintain bonds to family, community and the daily tasks of living that are critical components of their recovery.
At Jacobi, behavioral health length-of-stay has been reduced from 27.1 days to 14.4 days last month.
And at North Central Bronx Hospital, stays were reduced from 23.1 to 14.1 days.
These initiatives, and many others we won’t have time to mention tonight, are indicative of progress and innovation happening every day at the Health and Hospitals Corporation’s facilities in the Bronx.
We will never stop seeking to improve our operations in order to raise the quality care we already provide, to an even higher level.
We are focused as never before on ensuring that our patient’s experience…experience of our care is our overarching priority in everything we do.
Better patient experience will lead to better patient retention, to a broader patient base, and to increased market share, all of which will result in financial sustainability.
These initiatives reflect our commitment to remain a strong, viable partner with the communities of the Bronx as we endeavor together to achieve population health and wellness for all New Yorkers.
I’m glad to have the opportunity tonight to bring them to your attention.
Thank you. I feel privileged to lead this Corporation and to be here this evening with all of you.