Three unions filed separate lawsuits in New York state seeking to halt the so-called Berger Commission recommendationsnow state lawthat will force the closing of nine hospitals statewide and significantly restructure another 48.
United University Professions, which represents academic and professional faculty at state-operated universities, is challenging the Berger Commission recommendation to privatize State University of New York Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse and then merge it with 482-bed Crouse Hospital.
The New York State Public Employees Federation, New Yorks second largest state-employee union, is broadly challenging the legality of the recommendations, noting that it has already challenged the wisdom of privatizing SUNY Upstate.
Meanwhile, the Civil Service Employees Association is fighting the recommendations for 1,200-bed Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, Van Duyn Home and Hospital and Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse and Glendale Nursing Home in Schenectady County. The lawsuit charges that state officials improperly delegated their authority to the commission and that the commission recommendations conflict with existing laws.
So far 13 lawsuits have been filed challenging the Berger Commission report; three have already been dismissed, said state health department spokesman Marc Carey.
Officials are still reviewing the most recent lawsuits, but Carey noted, As of Jan. 1, they have the force of law. The department was given the task of implementing them, and thats what we are doing. -- by Cinda Becker