IN THE MIDST OF COVID’S SECOND WAVE HITTING NY & WITH OVER $58 MILLION AT STAKE IN CAPITAL REGION, SCHUMER SOUNDS THE ALARM & CALLS TO IMMEDIATELY REVERSE DEVASTATING CUTS FOR NATHAN LITTAUER HOSPITAL; AS FULTON COUNTY’S SOLE HOSPITAL, NATHAN LITTAUER STANDS TO LOSE OVER $4 MILLION, RISKING ACCESS TO DOCTORS & LIFE-SAVING SERVICES FOR THOUSANDS OF FULTON RESIDENTS; SENATOR CALLS ON CONGRESS TO KILL THE CUTS ASAP
Vital Federal Program Is Scheduled To Be Slashed By Billions of Dollars At The End Of This Month, Despite Massive Costs And Burdens Of COVID-19, Leaving Rural Hospitals & Communities Scrambling
Schumer Has Fought Off These Hospital Cuts Before, But They Are Back and Set to Take Effect in Less than a Month Unless Congress Acts
With Nathan Littauer Hospital Set To Lose ~$4.6M, Schumer Urges Congress To Immediately Halt Cuts & Allow Hospital To Recover From Pandemic; Health Crisis Has Left Capital Region Hospital Saddled With Costs For PPE & More
Schumer: DSH Cuts Would Cripple Care In The Capital Region During A Global Pandemic, And Must Be Stopped
A longtime champion of rural hospitals in Upstate New York, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, joined by Sean M. Fadale, President and CEO of Nathan Littauer Hospital, sounded the alarm on devastating cuts to the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program slated to go into effect at the end of this month, that are expected to cost New York Hospitals billions of dollars, and called on Congress to kill the cuts, ASAP. Specifically, the senator revealed Nathan Littauer Hospital stands to lose over $4.6 million dollars over the course of a decade, potentially jeopardizing vital services and access to doctors for hundreds of Fulton County residents. Schumer said that, especially in the midst of a global pandemic that has claimed the lives of over 250,000 Americans, Nathan Littauer has already been left strapped for cash, making robust funding from the DSH program even more vital to allow the hospital to continue serving the community.
“Hospitals like Nathan Littauer Hospital operate on razor-thin margins, even when there isn’t a public health crisis going on, with every single dollar making a huge difference,” said Senator Schumer. “Now, especially with COVID cases rising again in Upstate New York, they know this hospital is a lifeline for the community, and do their work because they believe that everyone deserves access to world-class health care, no matter how much money they have or where they come from. The last thing we should be doing right now is cutting funding for hospitals that are in even greater need of high-quality medical care because of the pandemic.”
Schumer added, “At a time when we need to be supporting our hospitals with robust funding to help them keep their doors open and doctors available, threatening them with substantial cuts to essential funding is fundamentally wrong. I am sending a message to my colleagues in Congress, loud and clear: I will not accept any proposal that hurts Upstate New Yorkers’ access to health care, and will fight tooth and nail to make sure these cuts are stopped.”
The Medicaid DSH program was designed to help hospitals that serve a high number of low-income and uninsured patients. As hospitals often receive either low reimbursement or no payment at all for treating those patients, the Medicaid DSH program helps provide hospitals with the financial flexibility to still offer world-class treatment to patients, regardless of who those patients are.
Schumer explained that the Medicaid DSH program was originally set to be slashed by $4 billion in October 2019, but the date was pushed back several times, finally settling on December 11, 2020. The cuts would cripple hospitals across the Capital Region, like Nathan Littauer, by severely restricting budgets and leading to the potential reduction of services and layoffs. Under the cuts, no state stands to lose more funding than New York, with projected losses of close to $6 billion over the next decade. Therefore, Schumer called on his colleagues in Congress to act immediately to stop the Medicaid DSH cuts, to ensure that Nathan Littauer and other hospitals across the region can continue providing first-rate care to all of their patients.
Schumer said that the Capital Region would be particularly damaged by the Medicaid DSH cuts. Below appears the Health Care Association of New York State’s (HANYS) projected losses for hospitals in the Capital Region should the cuts be allowed to take effect:
- Nathan Littauer Hospital stands to lose $4,658,800 over the coming decade.
- Albany Medical Center Hospital stands to lose $9,026,100 over the coming decade.
- Ellis Medicine stands to lose $8,527,100 over the coming decade.
- Samaritan Hospital stands to lose $11,602,800 over the coming decade.
- Saratoga Hospital stands to lose $4,828,500 over the coming decade.
- St. Mary's Healthcare stands to lose $2,687,900 over the coming decade.
- St. Peter's Hospital stands to lose $8,224,200 over the coming decade.
- Columbia Memorial Hospital stands to lose $3,344,900 over the coming decade.
- Glens Falls Hospital stands to lose $5,264,500 over the coming decade.
Nathan Littauer has seen an increase in the number of patients in recent years as several doctors in the rural Fulton County retired. Doctors’ schedules are already at full capacity, and the hospital is not slowing down on hiring, despite the financial implications of the pandemic, in order to meet the demands of the community. Should Congress not delay the cuts, they could force Nathan Littauer to reduce services, hurt its ability to recruit doctors, delay capital improvements and even force layoffs. Additionally, the hospital is a major employer in this region, playing a key role in the local economy employing almost 1,000 people who would be affected by the cuts, most of whom live in Fulton, Montgomery, and Hamilton Counties.
Additionally, Schumer highlighted Nathan Littauer’s need for additional PPE, saying that costs to protect staff and patients could badly drain resources for the already financially-strapped hospital. The hospital is vital to Fulton County and serves more than 31,400 residents, making sufficient PPE all the more necessary.
Schumer has relentlessly advocated for rural hospitals like Nathan Littauer over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the lead author and architect of the ‘Marshall Plan for Healthcare,’ he secured $9.4 million for Nathan Littauer in the CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enactment Act.
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