June 6, 2017

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Members turn out for post-budget Albany advocacy day

uupdate 6-6-17

Dozens of UUP members answered their union’s call for a day of post-budget advocacy for SUNY colleges and hospitals June 6, with the push for funding for SUNY hospitals taking on an urgent tone.

Above, Downstate Medical Center Chapter members Eudelle Marshall, left, and Paula White, far right, are greeted by state Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) during a meeting in his office. Marshall and White told Felder about how important Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) funds are for SUNY's public hospitals.

DSH funds are state monies that recognize the special burden placed on public hospitals, which never turn away a patient and treat hundreds of thousands of Medicaid patients a year for far less than the actual cost of care.

This year, the state has yet to pay the DSH funds, which puts the SUNY hospitals at risk of losing matching federal funds. UUP supports a bill sponsored by Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) and Assembly Member Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) that would amend the Public Health Law to require the state to pay 100 percent of the DSH funds.

Cooperation from hospital administrators

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UUP President Fred Kowal, above, with Downstate Chapter president Rowena Blackman-Stroud, said he was heartened by the cooperation the union is receiving from the SUNY hospital administrations on this issue.

“We got reach-outs from all three hospitals to work closely with them – it’s that important to them, and we welcome that,” Kowal said. “It’s long overdue.”

Hospital chapter leaders spoke of the special role the SUNY hospitals fulfill.

“We’ve got a lot of other programs that other Syracuse hospitals gave up,” said Carl Pettengill, president of the Upstate Medical University UUP chapter, who went on to explain that Upstate also takes patients other hospitals turn away. “I know for a fact that ambulance drivers change their route for our hospital if they find out a patient is on Medicaid.”

A clinic for spina bifida patients, a burn unit and a poison control center are among the unique services that Upstate provides in its vast coverage region, which extends from the borders of Canada to Pennsylvania.

MOE, teacher ed needs

uupdate 6-6-17

Above, UUP VPP Jamie Dangler, right, and Wendy Gordon, a Plattsburgh Chapter member and a member of the UUP Task Force on Teacher Education, discuss teacher education issues with Assembly Member Edward Ra (R-Franklin Square).

Led by Dangler and statewide MDO Tom Hoey, members asked lawmakers to support a true maintenance of effort for SUNY and the City University of New York; and to remove two entrance-exam barriers now required for admission to graduate-level teacher education programs that UUP deems unduly restrictive.

They also urged legislators to support a bill that would require the state to tally the number of faculty and academic advisors available to SUNY and CUNY students, in anticipation of the influx of new students with the state’s Excelsior Scholarship Program.

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