What Happened to all the Hospitals? A Series

Hospitals That Serve the Poorest Facing Financial Ruin

For more background on the Brooklyn Hospital Center, and its role, see this NYTimes Report from March 26, 2020, entitled “We’re In Disaster Mode, Courage Inside a Brooklyn Hospital Facing Coronovirus” : “The 175-year-old hospital — where Walt Whitman brought peaches and poems to comfort the Civil War wounded and where Anthony Fauci, the White House adviser who is now America’s most famous doctor, was born — is scaling up, as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has required all New York hospitals to do. The city, now the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, had reported more than 20,000 confirmed infections and 280 deaths as of late Wednesday.” Note that the numbers on March 26, 2020 jumped two months later, on May 23, 2020, to 23,195 fatalities in New York City. See the updated report linked here.

The following article was posted by The Executive Intelligence Review:

May 22 (EIRNS)—New York City hospitals that serve the city’s poorest patients are facing financial ruin, even though they served on the front line in the fight against COVID-19. These are “safety net hospitals,” which provide healthcare for individuals regardless of their insurance status or income.

Take the case of Brooklyn Hospital Center, which serves Bedford-Stuyvesant, one of the poorest districts in New York. “We’re going to need close to $100 million between now and the next three or four months,” Gary Terrironi, CEO of Brooklyn Hospital Center said. But the money is not there.

Beryl Miles, a 70-year-old Bedford-Stuyvesant resident, who with her family, has used Brooklyn Hospital for decades, summed it up appropriately, “It would be a real hardship. If they took away Brooklyn Hospital, it will be another big-ass apartment building down on Dekalb [Avenue]. That’s what I fear.”

Brooklyn Hospital Center, and a sister safety-net hospital, St. Barnabas in the Bronx, are mid-sized hospitals, the former with 464 beds, the latter with 441 beds. They took in many COVID-19 patients, with little or no compensation. They suffered during the lockdown, as did most U.S. hospitals, by not being able to perform elective surgeries, which would have brought in other income.

New York State’s 29 nonprofit safety-net hospitals are located in low-income, often minority neighborhoods. There are approximately 300 safety-net hospitals across the United States. They comprise less than 5% of all U.S. hospitals, but in 2017, provided 17.4% of all uncompensated care, and 23% of charity care. Yet, when federal funds were allocated to hospitals, it was the larger hospital systems that got most of the money, while the smaller ones received relatively little.

There is a bitter irony: the SARS-CoV-2 crisis became possible for the virus to become rampant because of the 40-year takedown of the health and hospital system, the growth of a services-based speculative bubble at the expense of the real productive economy, and the refusal to heed LaRouche’s warnings that by lowering potential relative population density, pandemics would flourish. Now, the number of hospitals, especially those that serve the poor, may be lowered, while almost no new hospitals have been built.

Do we ever learn?

The new LaRouche report on creating 1.5 billion productive jobs will show how we build hospitals. [ref]

Addendum — See May 25th, 2020 article in the New York Times, entitled:

Wealthiest Hospitals Got Billions in Bailout for Struggling Health Providers


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