Stay Safe Friday

Don’t get caught in the blizzard. The Weather Channel is saying 5 to 7 foot drifts are likely.

NYSUT Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta went to New York City early this morning to testify with the UUP President Phil Smith and Dr. Karen Benker of the SUNY Downstate School of Public Health about how critical it is to keep SUNY Downstate open.

As the winter warnings mounted, and with news that travel out of New York City would halt, Pallotta tells me he just dropped off 40 copies of his testimony and is headed back.

In his testimoney, which you can read here, he was going to  ask  the Assembly Health Committee to keepUniversity Hospital of Brooklyn (Downstate) open and that lawmakers reject the Executive Budget proposal that sets the stage for closure, or its privatization. Besides praising the staff for their efforts working around the clock during Superstorm Sandy, he was going to point out:

  • The Jan. 17 audit by state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli that found poor financial decisions by management greatly contributed to the hospital’s dire financial situation.
  • The timeline of how the state has consistently reduced funding to SUNY’s hospitals in recent years.
  • The unfair funding mechanisms that make SUNY hospitals the only state entities that must pay their own debt service on capital projects and increases in collective bargaining and fringe benefit costs rather than having them paid by the state through General State Charges.
  • The close ties that SUNY Downstate’s medical school has to the hospital. Including the statistics that the medical school:
  1. has 55 percent of its students are minorities
  2. 75 percent of its students receive financial aid.
  3. 41 percent of its students live in Brooklyn and 70 percent in New York City.
  4. produces more New York City physicians than any other medical school.
  5. more than 80 percent of graduates stay to practice in this state.

Lawmakers will be able to read that testimony, as can you. As well as the testimony of Drs. Smith and Benker. You can support those efforts by going to the Member Action Center.

Stay safe out there!

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