The interim CEO of NYC Health+Hospitals is taking action after he says the state has made it clear they will not be releasing $380 million in disproportionate share hospital payments the system was expecting months ago.
Stan Brezenoff, who fired off a blunt letter to the health commissioner last Friday asking why the state was withholding the payments, emailed his staff Thursday morning letting them know leadership would be "dramatically" using attrition as a tool and would be cutting hiring, filling only a quarter of the 250 to 300 positions that open up each month. He also said they would be asking physician affiliate organizations to follow the same path.
"I recognize that an even larger number of lost positions across our system will have consequences for patients, for a number of services and for continuity of care and I deeply regret this -- but this budget cut leaves us with no choice," he said.
The email also harshly criticized the state for not releasing the funds, saying it is showing a "shocking disregard for our mission" and has confirmed in public statements that they will not be releasing the money. Brezenoff wrote that the state withholding the payments constitutes a "large and completely unanticipated cut to our budget." He also pointed out that their action involves a pool of dollars that were already distributed to private hospitals systems who are less financially strapped and is "beyond shameful."
Brezenoff said the stricter hiring policy will not wholly solve the immediate challenge and the longer the cuts prevail, the harsher the actions the system will have to take to stay open. He said their senior team will be meeting to discuss additional actions, and would continue to demand that the state release the DSH payments they say they are owed.
"We will work closely with our community and labor partners to persuade the State. And we will continue to make our case that the State should immediately deliver these hard-earned City and Federal dollars to our public health system."