October 28, 2013

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SUNY DMC at heart of proposal

Brooklyn health care plan now online

uupdate 10-28-13A

A UUP-backed plan to save SUNY Downstate Medical Center and preserve public health care in Brooklyn is now available online.

The “Brooklyn Hospitals Safety Net Plan,” supported by UUP, AFT, NYSUT, CSEA and the Public Employees Federation (PEF), can be accessed at

“(SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher) asked if there was a plan out there for Brooklyn health care and this is it,” said UUP President Fred Kowal, in an Oct. 25 address to SUNY’s University Faculty Senate at SUNY Maritime College. “We will work with legislators and other unions to bring this to the fore to solve the dilemmas in delivering health care to Brooklyn, with the focus on defending and enhancing Downstate.

“This plan takes Downstate and all the hospitals in Brooklyn that are suffering into the 21st century,” he continued. “I’m excited about it because I think it makes sense.”

The document, compiled by health care expert Fred Hyde, proposes setting up a network of comprehensive, satellite ambulatory care centers controlled by and affiliated with 15 Brooklyn hospitals.

Downstate, which would operate four care centers, would be the network’s hub, educating and supplying physicians and medical staff to provide necessary “safety-net” services at the centers. Downstate physicians would work with doctors at the other hospitals, focusing on the needs of patients, the report said.

Kowal said Hyde worked with Downstate physicians on the plan; the doctors support the proposal.

The plan, spearheaded by UUP, is the union’s latest attempt to save jobs and vital health care services at Downstate. The jobs of hundreds of UUPers have been cut as part of SUNY’s ongoing plan to downsize—and potentially privatize— Downstate. The state-operated public hospital serves more than 400,000 patients yearly, many of them with little or no insurance and without other means to pay for care.

The website has dozens of articles and supporting documentation for the report, including Community Needs Assessment studies for 13 Brooklyn hospitals, and information on emergency and urgent care satellite centers.

UUPers and others can sign up to receive email updates on the plan on the website.

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