Debt Service for SUNY Hospitals
As a constituent and someone who cares deeply about quality health care in New York state, I urge you to support A.1404 (Hunter). This legislation would prohibit the transfer of funds from the State University of New York to the general fund or any other fund under the auspices of the state Comptroller for the purposes of repayment or prepayment of debt service costs associated with any state university health care facility.
SUNY's three teaching hospitals — SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Stony Brook University Hospital and Upstate University Hospital — are truly the public's hospitals. These safety net hospitals train the health care providers of tomorrow and care for all New Yorker's, regardless of their ability to pay. Additionally, all three institutions serve a disproportionate percentage of Medicaid and Medicare patients.
The medical professionals and staff at each of these institutions stepped up during the COVID-19 pandemic when SUNY Downstate was designated a COVID only hospital. This designation, which effectively closed the hospital to anything non-COVID-related, cost that facility millions of dollars. To make matters worse, these hospitals were already struggling before the pandemic due to over a decade of underfunding by the state.
Unlike any other SUNY or state-owned facility, SUNY's hospitals are required to pay debt service on capital projects from their operating budgets. Forcing our hospitals to shoulder these costs diverts already scarce resources from patient services and medical professional/staff development. This legislation levels the playing field for New York's public academic medical centers by including debt service relief for their capital projects as part of the New York state capital budget.
This legislation will help our public hospitals to expand the services needed to keep up with myriad advances in health care as well as the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19 and its variants. Providing financial stability to these vital teaching institutions will provide security and help to ensure that New York is ready for the next health crisis.
Thank you for your consideration of this very important matter. I respectfully ask that you raise this with your conference, and I would greatly appreciate a response to this email.