Putnam Hospital Center and healthcare unions condemn drastic cuts to Medicaid

Posted: 3/7/2019

Catastrophic Medicaid cuts proposed in the 2019-2020 New York state budget brought together more than 100 people at a rally hosted by Putnam Hospital Center.

Expressing grave concerns about the impact of the cuts, Putnam Hospital Center administrators and staff members were joined by healthcare workers and nurses from unions 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) on Thursday to protest the funding shortage.

Healthcare in New York state is facing a $550 million slash to Medicaid funding that would amount to a total loss of $1.1 billion when factoring in federal matching dollars. Health Quest would stand to lose about $4 million over two years if the budget cuts were enacted at its three New York medical facilities, which include Vassar Brothers Medical Center, Putnam Hospital Center and Northern Dutchess Hospital.

“This is such an important issue for healthcare in New York,” Putnam Hospital Center President Peter Kelly said. “We have to do everything we can to stand together as healthcare providers to make sure that our elected officials understand the enormous and potentially life-threatening impact the proposed healthcare budget cuts will have on all New Yorkers.”

Greg Speller, 1199SEIU’s executive vice president, echoed Kelly’s sentiments.

“These cuts will devastate the ability of hospitals, nursing homes and health systems across the state to deliver quality care and services to their patients and communities,” Speller said. “As dedicated healthcare providers, everyone in this room is doing everything possible to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Thursday’s rally in Carmel was one of many being held throughout the month of March at hospitals and nursing homes from Long Island to Buffalo.

“Families count on our hospital to provide care and services when they need it most,” said Gayle Johnson, a respiratory therapist at Putnam Hospital Center and an 1199SEIU member. “I love my job and I am glad to be part of a great care team here. We all put our patients first. Now, our lawmakers must make their constituents and the health of our communities a priority.”

In a joint effort, the administration and unions at Putnam Hospital Center also created a Take Action Center at the hospital, giving employees and others an opportunity to sign petitions and send letters to state lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to restore the healthcare funding.

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