Bedford-Stuyvesant

Cuomo budgets $700 million for health care in central Brooklyn

January 22, 2015 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Budget released on Wednesday includes $700 million in capital funding for the health care in central and eastern Brooklyn. AP photo by Mike Groll

New hospital under consideration?

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Budget released on Wednesday includes $700 million in capital funding for health care in central and eastern Brooklyn.

In his 2015-2016 Executive Budget statement, Cuomo says, “The health care needs of central and east Brooklyn communities are greater than can be accommodated by existing resources.

“$700 million in capital funding is included to stabilize the health care delivery system in these communities, reduce unnecessary inpatient beds while improving the overall quality of inpatient and outpatient services and increase access to community-based primary and preventive health care services,” Cuomo said.

Bob Megna, the state’s outgoing budget director, told Capital NY, “I think it’s pretty clear that a new hospital is required.

In October 2013, the Cuomo administration floated the idea of replacing the aging campuses of three Brooklyn hospitals – University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB) at SUNY Downstate, Brookdale and Kingsbrook Jewish—with a new $1 billion hospital in East Flatbush, Crain’s reported.

At a related symposium, Dr. Williams, president of SUNY Downstate, discussed the possibility of shifting UHB’s operations to Kings County Hospital, across the street. As an alternative, Williams said he considered building a new hospital. “It would cost from $1 – 1.5 billion,” he said, roughly “one million dollars per bed,” he said.

SUNY Downstate’s Sustainability Plan calls for the shrinkage of UHB and the formation of a new health care network which would include the participation of several other health entities.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for the Governor’s Office told the Brooklyn Eagle that specific details were not available.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams told the Eagle late Wednesday, “I haven’t heard from the Governor’s office on this matter; duties in the borough prevented me from going to the State of the State address. I appreciate Governor Cuomo’s attention to health care in Brooklyn, though I will need to examine the specific concept of building a new hospital when so many of our existing facilities need support, on top of our having just closed Long Island College Hospital (LICH).”

Residents of Brooklyn’s rapidly-expanding north-western Brooklyn are still reeling from LICH’s closure. The 20-building campus in Cobble Hill is being sold to a developer. LICH served neighborhoods from Red Hook to Williamsburg.

Across the state, the Governor’s budget provides $1.4 billion in capital investments for health care infrastructure.

In November, Cuomo announced the start of construction of the$165 million CAMBA Gardens Apartments Phase II on the Kings County Hospital campus. The development will include a mix of 502 affordable and supportive housing units.

In April 2014 the federal government awarded New York State an $8 billion, 5 year Medicaid waiver. Since then, $500 million has been awarded to financially distressed “safety net” hospitals, with the goal of reducing hospital usage and improving health overall.

Brooklyn hospitals receiving waiver funds included Interfaith Medical Center, Brookdale Hospital, Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center and Wycoff Heights Medical Center.

Central and eastern Brooklyn neighborhoods include Bushwick, Beford-Stuyvesant, East New York, Brownsville and Crown Heights.

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