February 27, 2014
By Marc Bussanich
Bronx, NY—The president of the Health and Hospitals Corporation testified to the City Council on Monday that privatizing dialysis services would save the hospital millions of dollars. But the head of the New York State Nurses Association said the state should reject HHC’s application because it’ll negatively affect the outcome of patient care. Video
“We are really concerned about HHC’s decision to privatize dialysis [because] first and foremost, patients will get substandard care, [while] patients’ outcomes within existing HHC facilities are better,” said Jill Furillo, NYSNA’s executive director.
Alan D. Aviles, HHC’s President, told the City Council Committee on Health that the public hospital system needs to close out-year deficits that are expected to grow to nearly $1.4 billion in 2018. By privatizing dialysis, Aviles claimed that the hospital would be able to save $150 million over the next nine years.
HHC wants to outsource dialysis services to a company called Big Apple Dialysis, which is owned by Atlantic Dialysis. The hospital voted more than a year ago to approve the deal with Big Apple, but the New York State Public Health and Health Planning Council will have the final vote on whether the public hospital can outsource services to a for-profit franchise.
Furillo questioned whether HHC would realize savings by privatizing.
“We question even the figures they use as to whether or not this is more cost effective. But quality-patient care should not be determined by bottom-line medicine. We think everyone deserves to have quality-patient care because health care is a right, not a privilege.”
Furillo also said that, based on all the data the union has submitted to the Department of Health Services showing that HHC has a better record of dialysis care than Big Apple, the health council should reject HHC’s application.
“We believe our voice should be heard and the council should take into consideration all the data we’ve presented and deny the application.”
Follow Marc on Twitter firstname.lastname@example.org