November 13, 2013

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HSC Concerns Committee leaders meet, strategize

uupdate 11-13-13

HSC Concerns Committee member Michael Lyon adds to the conversation as committee members Carl Pettengill and Carol Gizzi listen at the committee’s Nov. 13 meeting.

Leaders from SUNY’s four health science centers (HSCs) met with UUP’s statewide officers at NYSUT headquarters in Latham to discuss topics important to their campuses and of mutual interest to HSCs statewide. The committee includes presidents and vice presidents from HSCs in Buffalo, Brooklyn, Stony Brook and Syracuse.

The committee considered a number of issues, including the construction of the new School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo and the regional health care alliance between Stony Brook University Hospital and Southampton Hospital. Committee members were updated on contracting out concerns at Upstate Medical University (UMU) and a state investigation that has led to the resignation of UMU President David R. Smith and Steven Brady, UMU’s senior vice president for administration and finance.

UUP President Fred Kowal said UUP is working to forge coalitions with unions across the state to support a UUP-backed plan to resolve Brooklyn’s health care delivery dilemma. The plan, which would save jobs and health care services at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, would revamp Brooklyn’s ailing health care system.

“We’re looking for all the allies we can find,” said Kowal. “This is the only workable plan for long-term health care in Brooklyn.”

Dangler laid out the union’s position on seamless transfer and Open SUNY, which SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher claims will make SUNY the nation’s largest online learning network once it’s implemented. UUP’s concerns about Open SUNY are many, including access, educational quality and transparency.

UUP’s plan, endorsed by the American Federation of Teachers, NYSUT, CSEA, PEF, and the New York State AFL-CIO, would create a network of satellite ambulatory care centers, controlled by and affiliated with 15 Brooklyn hospitals. Downstate would be the network’s hub, supplying physicians and medical staff to provide necessary “safety-net” services at the centers. Downstate’s medical school would benefit; the plan would preserve Downstate’s University Hospital of Brooklyn, which is used as a teaching hospital.

MDO Edison Bond Jr., the Downstate Chapter’s VPP, is scheduled to give testimony in support of Downstate at a Nov. 15 SUNY Board of Trustees hearing. Kowal said he welcomes a conversation with New York City mayor-elect Bill de Blasio about heath care.

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