NEW YORK-The New York State Human Rights Division is investigating whether black and Hispanic patients at Mount Sinai Medical Center and Presbyterian Hospital in New York City were segregated based on race. The probe was prompted by patient complaints and follows the state Health Department's review of the two hospitals, which had been assigning Medicaid maternity patients to different floors than other patients, a violation of state hospital code. The Human Rights Division's review will be completed in about three months. If the commission finds "probable cause" to believe the hospitals discriminated against patients based on race, it will hold hearings before an administrative law judge. If found guilty of racial bias, the hospitals could be ordered to pay compensatory damages. Both hospitals deny any racial discrimination.
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, N.J.-Consumer Health Network, which markets a PPO for workers' compensation coverage, plans to move into the New York City market in January. CHN says it operates New Jersey's largest independent PPO for workers' compensation, with nearly 1 million covered lives, a network of 56 hospitals and more than 4,000 physicians. The company expects to add 40,000 enrollees in New York by the end of 1995 and 100,000 the following year. The expansion will cost $500,000, but it's expected to generate additional revenues of $1 million by 1995 and $2.5 million by 1996, a spokeswoman said.
NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y.-Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center recently expanded access to primary care and occupational health services with its purchase of a 37-foot mobile health unit called First Stop. The hospital's auxiliary is paying for the $80,000 van through fund-raising programs. The mobile unit stops at places such as the YMCA and Salvation Army to serve people who might not have physicians or have difficulty accessing healthcare services. The hospital is seeking a state Health Department grant to help defray the estimated $200,000 it will cost to provide free care to the uninsured in the first year. The van also is available to employers for on-site employee physicals and other screenings. Some 6,000 people are expected to use the van's services in the first year.