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  Public Employee Press

PEP May 2006
Table of Contents
  La Voz

Public Employee Press

Political Action 2006

Speaking out to save hospitals

Local 420 Chief Shop Steward Barrington Jobson speaks out in Brooklyn against cuts.

A coalition of DC 37 locals and health care activists continued their struggle against Gov. George E. Pataki’s Medicaid cuts and the plans of his Commission on the Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century to close hospitals.

As PEP went to press, the state Legislature and Gov. Pataki were going down to the wire in a fierce battle over the executive budget.

Rank-and-file union members and local presidents testified against hospital closings April 10 before the City Council’s Task Force on the State Advisory Commission on Health Care.

Barrington Jobson, Local 420’s chief shop steward at Kings County Hospital, spoke to the City Council on behalf of the local’s 9,000 members.

Local 420 President Carmen Charles addresses the City Council in hearing on
March 28.

More hearings planned
“The City Council should pressure the State Advisory Commission on Health Care to examine why the hospitals are losing money,” said Jobson, who works as a Patient Care Associate. “One reason is the reimbursement rates. HHC hospitals receive $95 for an emergency room visit from Medicaid, a rate that has not changed since 1992, but the actual cost of care is closer to $400.”

The Legislature has attempted to increase emergency room Medicaid reimbursement rates by 50 percent, but the governor has rejected the proposal and has attempted to cut $1.3 billion from Medicaid.

Several more public hearings will take place during May and June. Members are urged to pack the City Council’s Task Force Hearing on Hospital Closings on May 4 from 6-9 p.m. at Queens Borough Hall.

Elizabeth Thompson from Local 1549 and Albert Willingham from Local 768 also testified.

Members can speak at the hearing if they contact Susan Chin at the DC 37 Political Action Dept. (212-815-1550) to register. Members are also urged to attend two other hospital hearings that will be held on May 11 and June 8 at 71 W. 23 St. in Manhattan.

Testifying at a March 28 City Council budget hearing, Local 420 President Carmen Charles said, “Closing more hospitals is not the answer.”

— Alfredo Alvarado






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