A powerful New York commission recommended closing nine hospitals and restructuring nearly 50 to make the states healthcare system more efficient. The moves would affect about one-fourth of the hospitals in New York and eliminate 4,200 hospital beds, or 7% of the supply. The Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, created by Gov. George Pataki and the New York Legislature, also said the state should shut down 3,000 nursing homes beds, or about 3%. The commission said its recommendations -- the result of 18 months of work that included a detailed analysis of every hospital in the state -- would produce an estimated total benefit to payers and providers of more than $1.5 billion annually, including an estimated $806 million annually in savings to Medicaid and other payers.
According to the commission, one-third of its recommendations reflect voluntary, provider-developed initiatives. The state has allocated $1 billion to fund the restructuring; an additional $1.5 billion in federal-state funding is available if the Legislature accepts the commissions recommendations in full. The commissions report also includes recommendations released last week that called for broad policy reform in other areas such as reimbursement and urged the state to consider privatizing hospitals operated by the State University of New York. Read the report and other information on the Greater New York Hospital Association's Web site. -- by Cinda Becker