Hospitals & Facilities

Hospital employees rally against proposed New York Medicaid cuts

The workers, along with elected officials, demanded that hospitals receive a better reimbursement rate.
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1199SEIU workers who rallied last year against Medicaid cuts. Pacific Press/Getty Images

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Brookdale Hospital Medical Center in Brooklyn employees hit the sidewalk during their lunch break Thursday to protest Medicaid funding cuts that Governor Kathy Hochul proposed last month in the state’s $229 billion budget.

The 30-minute demonstration was one of at least 14 events held across the state on February 22. The demonstrations were organized by 1199SEIU—a healthcare union that represents more than 450,000 workers across Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Washington, DC—to rail against Hochul’s $1.2 billion proposed cuts to the state Medicaid program.

The cuts, which would hit long-term care, staff pay, and home care, aren’t the only items healthcare workers and elected officials took issue with. Demonstrators also called for Medicaid reimbursement parity in New York, as the program currently pays hospitals 30% less than the total cost of care for Medicaid patients, according to the Healthcare Education Project.

“What we’re asking for is the full dollar to take care of our community,” Ursula Edwards, a nurse at Brookdale’s cardiac catheterization laboratory, told Healthcare Brew at the demonstration. “Give them what they deserve, which is quality healthcare.”

About 90% of patients that safety-net hospital Brookdale serves are enrolled in Medicaid, according to 1199SEIU.

“The message is going to go from Albany Avenue to Albany, New York,” state Assemblywoman Latrice Monique Walker said at the rally. “This is about our families; this is about the fate of our hospital that we have been fighting for, for years. Every year we come back.”

The governor’s office didn’t immediately respond to Healthcare Brew’s request for comment.

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Healthcare Brew covers pharmaceutical developments, health startups, the latest tech, and how it impacts hospitals and providers to keep administrators and providers informed.