State Needs $10 Billion Medicaid Waiver Now To Save Hospitals, Says Schwartz

Written by Matthew Hamilton on . Posted in Budget/Taxes, Features, Health Care, Heard Around Town, News.

The Cuomo administration is predicting more trouble for struggling hospitals if the federal government does not grant New York’s request for a $10 billion Medicaid waiver, which state officials submitted 18 months ago.

Secretary to the Governor Larry Schwartz

Secretary to the Governor Larry Schwartz

Funding in the governor’s new 2014-2015 state budget for healthcare and hospitals, including three in Brooklyn on the verge of closure, is allocated on the assumption that the federal government will approve the waiver, which would allow some of the projected savings identified by the governor’s Medicaid Redesign Team to stay in state.

Robert Megna, Cuomo’s budget director, said there would be a serious problem if the waiver were not approved within 10 months, if not sooner. “This is not a problem that is months away,” he said. “This is a problem that is upon us already.”

During a post-budget conference, Megna began to say the state would then have to revisit how hospital funding would be addressed statewide, but Cuomo’s top aide, Larry Schwartz, cut him off. “We don’t have 10 months to wait,” Schwartz said. “It’s immediate. We need it now. These hospitals are on the verge of closing. There’s fiscally distressed hospital all throughout the state, many of them are in Brooklyn. And we need the Medicaid waiver now.”

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