New York

Northern hospitals fear the lack of funding will cause

Albany — When the $220 billion state budget was approved last April, administrators of hospitals in the financially struggling Upstate said their spending plans included $800 million for struggling hospitals. So I was optimistic that at least some of the financial woes would be resolved.

But as the hospital’s financial situation continues to deteriorate, the state government has yet to release the money, increasing the likelihood of further cuts to patient services, said the president and CEO of the Iroquois Healthcare Alliance. said Gary Fitzgerald,

The Alliance represents 50 hospitals in 32 counties, including Bassett Medical Center and its affiliates in Cooperstown, Champlain Valley Medical Center in Plattsburgh and Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid.

“We have money in the state budget this fiscal year, but I’m frustrated that it’s not happening,” Fitzgerald told CNHI.

The financial strain on hospitals arises as they deal with severe staffing shortages while absorbing patients who can be cared for more efficiently in nursing homes. level.

A recent survey of hospital administrators who are members of the Iroquois Alliance found that 88% of hospital administrators reported facing “negative or very thin profit margins,” with an average operating margin of It was minus 3.87%.

The growing number of “alternative medicine level” patients is also putting pressure on hospital purse strings. “Although nursing homes have beds, they do not have enough staff to meet the requirements of the new law, which was passed two years ago requiring staffing ratios. Some of those nursing home beds are empty, while there are patients using hospital beds because they can’t.”

When asked about the allocation of $800 million to struggling hospitals, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s spokesman Matthew Janiszewski said the government was in discussions with hospital representatives.

“Governor Hochul is working to rebuild the state’s healthcare system and has been in talks with the statewide healthcare system, which is in financial trouble in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Janiszewski said.

“We will continue to work with these health systems to assess their current financial situation and provide assistance as needed,” he added.

Fitzgerald said the hospital is an important part of the upstate’s community structure and ensuring its stability is a top priority for Albany policy makers.

He said more and more hospitals are forced to rely on temporary staff, which are often costly, due to a shortage of applicants for hospital staff positions. For example, hiring a traveling nurse.

Based on input from Iroquois members, Fitzgerald estimated that his association’s hospitals would spend $1.2 billion more on emergency staffing than they did a year ago.

“Hospitals are trying to bypass, move patients out of the area, and in some cases shrink states,” Fitzgerald said. “The only way hospitals can make a positive profit is to perform elective procedures. But some hospitals don’t have enough staff to perform as many elective procedures as possible.”

Fitzgerald fears that delays in the release of funds approved by the state government for hospital budgets could make it even more difficult to recruit doctors to work at hospitals in the upstate.

“When hospitals start having financial problems, doctors find that they can’t provide the services they want,” says Fitzgerald. “They start looking for other places they can go to if they have a problem with the hospital. They’ll find another place to practice outside of New York State.” He said it would hit the community hard.

“The system was under stress during the pandemic, but now that we’re out on the other side, those costs won’t go away,” he said. Northern hospitals fear the lack of funding will cause

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