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New reports, pandemic show importance of protecting and investing in New York’s healthcare system

HANYS’ 2021 economic and community benefit reports illustrate the incredible impact our hospitals and health systems have on the communities they serve – and our urgent need to support them.

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Every year, our hospitals and health systems care for millions of patients needing inpatient, outpatient and emergent care. They deliver more than 200,000 babies. They generate more than 850,000 jobs and $175 billion in economic activity, and they invest more than $12 billion in supporting their communities’ wellbeing in and outside of their facility walls.

These healthcare providers are essential to the local communities they serve.

HANYS recently released our economic and community benefit analyses, updated for 2021. Our analyses allow you to dig into the data, exploring the annual impact of your local hospital, those within your region, or the impact of hospitals collectively in the state of New York. I encourage you to take a look.

But as you do, it’s important to note that the data in these reports were collected before the COVID-19 pandemic. They do not yet reflect the significant financial toll this crisis has had on New York’s healthcare system. That financial toll is steep, and it’s one our hospitals continue to face.

Over the past year, our member hospitals and health systems have taken on an outsized role, leading the way on everything from public health education to collaboratively managing hospitalization surges and, most recently, vaccinating eligible healthcare workers and community members. These efforts are all ongoing, and with tireless effort, but the financial fallout from fighting on the frontlines of this pandemic has left many of our hospitals in continued and desperate need of help.

We continue to urge Congress to provide additional emergency provider relief funding directly to New York’s hospitals, which have been so hard hit throughout this yearlong crisis.

Our state needs help, as well. Facing a budget gap of $15 billion over two years, Gov. Cuomo has outlined a series of cuts in his executive budget proposal for 2021-2022. Medicaid funding in particular is at risk of facing $600 million in cuts if Congress ultimately provides $6 billion in state and local aid. Should Congress provide less federal aid, we could see more cuts; more aid may reduce or even eliminate the harm to Medicaid and healthcare overall.

HANYS and our members have long supported the governor’s calls for state and local aid from Washington. We continue to urge the state not to cut healthcare and for Congress to take swift action on an emergency relief package that adequately supports New York state and thereby protects New York’s healthcare providers, workforce and patients.

Our economic and community benefit reports demonstrate why we need federal funding for these facilities — not only for the wellbeing of New York's healthcare system, but for the wellbeing of New York communities. The impact of our hospitals is too great to put at risk. As hospitals continue to fight the pandemic, lead vaccination efforts and keep their promises on access to essential healthcare services, they need more support now - not less.