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March 9, 2021
New York City has been and remains the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state, and protecting the city’s public health infrastructure has never been more important. A recent data analysis conducted by Gothamist demonstrate that as many as three-quarters of the approximately 38,000 COVID deaths in the state have occurred in New York City. In addition, a recent study by the United Hospital Fund found that more than 4,200 children have lost a parent or guardian to the virus, and 57% of those deaths were in three New York counties: Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. Black and Hispanic children are experiencing parental/caregiver deaths at twice the rate of Asian and white children.
New York City’s ability to keep down COVID-19 infection rates and deaths – as well as meet the complex health needs exacerbated by the pandemic – is dependent on the city having the resources necessary to support communities that have been decimated by this crisis.
Despite these ongoing challenges, the State Executive Budget proposes over a billion dollars in cuts and costs shifts to NYC, including in the areas of public health. Among them, the Governor’s proposed budget includes more than $334 million in cuts to the state’s support of the Health and Hospitals system in FY22, including approximately $60 million reduction to the Federal Public Indigent Care Pool which funds public hospitals and federally qualified health centers.
In addition to being the frontline of health care services for communities struggling with high rates of covid-related illness, the Health and Hospitals systems is playing a central role in New York City’s vaccination efforts.
“The proposed cuts to New York City’s Health and Hospitals system threaten the financial stability of safety net hospitals that have been indispensable providers of service to those impacted by COVID-19, as well as continuing to meet the larger health needs of low-income and uninsured populations,” said Jennifer March, Executive Director of Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, a NYC based child advocacy organization. “Undercutting the City’s ability to meet the needs in the middle of a public health crisis is deeply short-sighted and will only lead to more illness and loss.”
In his recent testimony on the State Executive Budget, Mayor de Blasio reported that these cuts would result in the closing of clinics serving 140,000 patients each year and losing 900 doctors and nurses and resulting in longer wait times for patients.
Click on the link below to find a map illustrating how these cuts will have a devastating impact on health care access in communities that have already been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 public health crisis.