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Cuomo, De Blasio Push For Federal Funding To Save Brooklyn Hospitals

State Awards $56 Million To Hospitals, Nursing Homes
Interfaith Medical Center in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. (credit: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880)

Interfaith Medical Center in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. (credit: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880)

CBS New York (con't)

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ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York health officials have awarded $56 million to a dozen hospitals and nursing homes even as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio repeated dire warnings that some Brooklyn hospitals will close without more federal Medicaid money.

State officials say New York needs the federal Medicaid waiver providing about $2 billion annually for five years to help struggling hospitals cut capacity while emphasizing primary medical care and cutting hospital admissions.

That includes $1 billion for Brooklyn hospitals that have 1,200 excess patient beds.

“The health care system (in Brooklyn) is really on the precipice, and we have been holding it up for months … at a very expensive cost to the state of New York,” Cuomo said. “And we are now in the budget, where we either have funding for an issue or we don’t. And it comes down to numbers, and it comes down to dollars and cents. And right now, the funding is not there.

“Our message today is very simple: We are united in our plea to the federal government that we need help and we need it now,” the governor added.

Without the funding, Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, Interfaith Medical Center and Long Island College Hospital would likely be shuttered, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.

“This waiver would have a seismic impact,” de Blasio said. “This would have a crucial impact on securing health care in communities across Brooklyn for the long term. We’ve been living unfortunately hand to mouth in recent months.”

In a response to Cuomo and Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah, who raised similar public warnings, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a letter Wednesday that officials have begun drafting a potential agreement, but there are outstanding issues. Sebelius said the waiver, meant to improve care and cut Medicaid costs, shouldn’t determine the future of particular New York hospitals.

“Those are decisions properly left to state and local officials and affected communities,” she wrote.

A spokeswoman for Sebelius declined further comment Monday.

The funding announced Monday for community-based care for the poor and elderly includes $10.5 million for Nassau University Medical Center on Long Island and $14.8 million for the Northeast Center for Special Care, a residential facility in the Hudson Valley.

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