An immediate infusion of federal funds would help save struggling Brooklyn hospitals that may not otherwise stay open past February, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.
State funds for Long Island College Hospital, for example, may not be available after next month, Cuomo said. He called for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to approve a $10 billion Medicaid waiver request.
“February is the last period that I can do a modification to our budget,” Cuomo said at a news conference in Albany with de Blasio. “There are no funds to continue this now.” De Blasio, a Brooklyn resident arrested last July at a protest of LICH’s closure, added, “Give us this waiver so we can secure the long-term.”
Federal cash would help transform hospitals that have more beds than necessary and can more efficiently serve patients, Cuomo said. “We’re at the point where if we don’t get help, the system is going to collapse.”
The state revised its waiver application after federal officials said the funds should not be used for capital programs. Federal officials Monday pointed to a letter last week from U.S. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to Cuomo that said their teams were working toward an agreement. The revised request seeks to broadly help Medicaid recipients and low-income patients, but funds should not go toward determining the “future path” of specific hospitals, she wrote.