For far too long, hospital indigent care pool funding – also referred to as hospital charity care funding – has been allocated in a way that does not tie the money to actual services to low-income people. As part of the 2018-19 state budget agreement, the NYS Department of Health hosted a workgroup to once again examine this issue and come up with a new way of allocating these public funds. DOH released the final report of the workgroup in February 2019. Community perspective on the workgroup and recommendations for action were then provided by the Commission on the Public’s Health System in a call to action.
NYC Health + Hospitals and the NYS Nurses Association presented proposals for how to correct this, working closely with consumer advocates as they developed their proposals. The proposal presented by H+H has been introduced by the Assembly and Senate Health Committee chairs (A.6677-A, Gottfried / S.5546, Rivera).
The bottom line is we need accountability and transparency in the way these public funds – which were intended to compensate hospitals for care to people on Medicaid and people who are uninsured – are allocated and spent. This funding must be allocated by the State to the facilities that meet the statutory definition of safety net hospitals, as well as other needy hospitals in communities across the state.