The Assembly approves the draft law on delaying the closure of hospitals News, Sports, Work


Closing hospitals in New York, like the Lakeshore Health Center-TLC in Irving, could take much longer in the future.

The state assembly recently passed the Community Health Act on Local Input (A.2251) which would implement a lengthy process once a hospital is announced to close. The legislation passed 110-36, with Assembylmen Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, and Joe Giglio, R-Gowanda, voting against.

The accompanying legislation in the state Senate, S.3131, has not been moved by the Senate Health Committee.

Assemblywoman Joann Simon, D-Brooklyn, introduced the bill after the closure of Long Island College Hospital, previously operated by New York State University-Downstate. This closure ended in court for almost two years, during which a court said the current regulation governing the closure of hospitals is “unclear unconstitutional.”

“I will say that as part of the impact we were not able to assess because we did not have adequate information at the time, although we tried hard and it went to trial. said Simon. “One of the things that was clear was that the court found that it was not in fact a process by which the state of New York had to provide the people with the information they needed. Unfortunately people died because ambulances could not figure out where the addresses were in local public housing because the addresses were all linked to one yard. “Getting to know the area was really critical to providing emergency care and it was really a very difficult situation for our community.”

She wrote in her legislative justification that the court proceedings made it clear that there was no process for determining the health care impact of the closure of the hospital in Cobble Hill and surrounding communities or Brooklyn. The current law, she said, requires a community forum to be held after a hospital is already closed and does not require the Department of Health commissioner to consider community needs for health care, including emergency medical care or transitional care. as part of the commissioner’s decision to approve the closure of the hospital.

Simon’s legislation adds a new section 2801 of the state law on public health to give clear authority to close hospitals to the state health commissioner and requires the commissioner to issue a report within 30 days of a closure application, including that which includes that foreseen. the impact of closure on the access of surrounding communities to care, including the uninsured and the uninsured; measures that the Department of State Health and others have taken or plan to take to reduce any adverse effects; recommendations regarding access to health care services in affected communities and why the state cannot take over funding. responsibility for the hospital or identify an alternative operator.

The Department of State Health will also be required to hold a community forum to give community members and locally elected officials the opportunity to ask questions, express concerns, and offer alternatives, both in person and through written comments. At least 10 days before the public hearing, the state will be required to post a copy of a report regarding the proposed closure that includes measures the Department of Health is taking to mitigate any adverse impact from the hospital closure, access recommendations in health care services in the region and opportunities for medical services in the area.

“We can not be wrong if we had better information,” said Simon. “With the information we would have been able to determine the continuity of care that kept the billing contract after SUNY entered. He was not actually sending invoices because they did not want to send invoices because they wanted to close the hospital. This was their main goal closing the hospital. It was the main goal of the community to maintain community health care for the people in our community. “This legislation would allow that to happen.”

While the state will be asked to give reasons why it cannot assume financial responsibility for maintaining the operation of a hospital, Goodell said the biggest drawback of the bill is that it does not pool funds to allow the process to take place. public. He said the adoption of the bill should require a voice in the state budget.

“It’s a great idea for hospitals to give us months and months notice, and the Department of Health needs months and months to review it.” said Goodell. “But there is nothing in this bill that deals with what happens when the hospital runs out of money and can not pay its employees. There is nothing in this bill that deals with what happens when a hospital runs out of staff and can not provide the level of care we require in this legislature with minimal staffing levels. There is nothing in this legislation that deals with the fact that a hospital that is in bankruptcy will not continue to receive supplies. I welcome the desire to get as much attention as possible. The reality is that if we are serious about providing this process in a timely manner, we must be serious about securing the state funding that enables its realization. “There is no money tree growing behind the hospitals that they can shake while the state takes its time to consider an application.”

The closure of the TLC-Lakeshore Health Center in Irving was a shock even though the hospital had been facing financial problems for six years before its closure in 2019. It emerged from a 2013 bankruptcy in 2017 after years of deficits and a recommendation from the Berger Commission i state to close the facility in 2006. The state had supported both TLC-Lakeshore and Brooks Memorial Hospital in the amount of about $ 25 million. koha.

“This is not just a hypothesis,” said Goodell. “I have lived it and I bet many of my other colleagues have actually lived it. I had a hospital company, I had two hospitals in my district. And they were forced to close one of the two hospitals, otherwise the whole facility would go bankrupt. Both hospitals would have been closed. “

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