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CONTACT: Mike Lisi (518) 640-6600
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Aug. 7, 2017

UUP strongly opposes proposed federal DSH funding changes

United University Professions, America’s largest higher education union, stands in opposition to a proposed federal rule change that would redistribute Disproportionate Share Program (DSH) Medicaid funding away from SUNY’s public hospitals.

The union, which represents more than 42,000 SUNY academics and professionals statewide, sent an Aug. 7 letter to New York’s congressional delegation urging them to stop—or at the very least, delay—the change, which would diminish the high-quality, affordable health care provided by public hospitals across the state.

“This is a frontal assault on affordable, accessible health care in the United States,” said Kowal. “If the Senate is serious about health care, it would work to repair Obamacare, not blow it up. Instead, senators want to slash Medicaid, eliminate Planned Parenthood funding and rob millions of Americans of the health coverage they receive through the ACA.”

"These cuts would deal a devastating blow to the high-quality, affordable care provided daily by the state’s public hospitals in SUNY," said UUP President Frederick E. Kowal, Ph.D. "We are hopeful that New York’s entire congressional delegation will speak loudly against this proposal, which UUP believes will hurt our hospitals and jeopardize health care services for tens of thousands of patients who rely on these public facilities for treatment."

Kowal praised Gov. Andrew Cuomo for speaking out against an Aug. 3 final rule by the Department of Health and Human Services regarding Medicare inpatient hospital payment rates; that ruling will also cut Medicare DSH payments to public hospitals in 2018. In an Aug. 4 media statement, the governor blasted the plan and demanded that the federal government "reconsider this cruel decision."

The allocation change in Medicaid DSH funds falls heaviest on states like New York, which expanded its Medicaid programs. Federal DSH Medicaid funds are used to reimburse public hospitals for the care they provide to patients without health insurance or who can’t otherwise afford to pay.

No one is turned away from SUNY’s public hospitals. UUP represents more than 15,000 members that work at SUNY’s academic medical centers and health sciences centers.

SUNY’s medical schools at Brooklyn, Buffalo, Stony Brook and Syracuse, which graduate thousands of doctors and medical staff each year, would also be impacted by the proposed federal funding recalculation. Many SUNY medical school alumni go on to work and live in New York state.

"Taken together, the impact on health care, medical education, and the health and well-being of New Yorkers will be severely damaged by this proposed rule," Kowal said in the letter.

UUP is the nation's largest higher education union, with more than 37,000 academic and professional faculty and retirees. UUP members work at 29 New York state-operated campuses, including SUNY’s public teaching hospitals and health science centers in Brooklyn, Long Island and Syracuse. It is an affiliate of NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the AFL-CIO.


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