Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hospital Modernization Efforts At Risk

On Wednesday U.S Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Reps. Brian Higgins (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY) voiced concerns about "foot dragging" by federal officials that put billions of dollars for hospital construction at risk.
In 2006 New York was awarded $2.5 billion for capital improvements at hospitals and health care facilities across New York State, with the stipulation that the projects needed to be completed by September 30th, 2011. The four representatives from New York are alleging that red tape at the state and federal levels delayed construction on projects, which means that many projects across the state are in danger of being stopped in their tracks.
According to a letter the New Yorkers sent to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob J. Lew: Current regulations require the projects to be finished by the deadline or funding will be cut off. The program through which these 350 projects in NY are being funded is called Federal-State Health Reform Program (F-SHRP). The program provides help to modernize hospitals and create jobs across the state by investing in infrastructure projects. The F-SHRP program’s goals are to promote the efficient operation of the State’s health care system; consolidate and right-size New York’s health care system by reducing excess capacity in the acute care system; shift emphasis in long-term care from institutional-based to community-based settings; expand the adoption of advanced health information technology and improve ambulatory and primary care provision.
“This program invests now in projects that create jobs in the short-term and maximizes taxpayer savings in the medium and long-term,” said Schumer. “This aims to give New York the most up to date and cost-effective hospitals so that patients can receive the highest level of care at the lowest possible cost. Putting a halt to these job-creating projects because of an arbitrary deadline, particularly when the hospitals themselves are not at fault, makes no sense.”
Senator Gillibrand said, "The waiver should absolutely be extended. These are exactly the kind of solutions we need right now. It is common sense."
They said that projects at St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, NY; St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse; Bassett Healthcare Network in Little Falls, NY; Oswego Health in Oswego, NY; will be particularly hard hit.

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