2006-03-10 / Community

Bill To Save Closing Hospitals, Nursing Homes

In an attempt to protect the health care needs of vulnerable citizens, State Senator Ada L. Smith announced that she is co-sponsoring legislation on behalf of the Save Our Safety Net Campaign. The bill (S6591) would require the Commission on Health Care Facilities on the 21st Century to address concerns of underserved regions of the state before closing down hospitals and nursing homes in minority communities.

"While some progress has been made in closing the health care gap, there is still a significant disparity between people of color and whites. Obviously, there is still a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done in order to ensure that all New Yorkers are receiving quality health care. That is why I have been participating in roundtable discussions on health care disparity in New York. I am committed to finding a resolution to this problem," said Senator Smith.

The Commission on Heath Care Facilities in the 21st Century consists of 18 members. The purpose of the Commission is to evaluate which hospitals should be closed. Senator Smith noted that the Commission has been dubbed "The Hospital-Closing Commission."

"Any hospital closing has a devastating effect on a community. There needs to be consistent and fair consideration for how the Commission chooses which hospital facilities to close," said Senator Smith.

The Queens lawmaker explained that if this legislation becomes law, it would require the Commission to consider health care needs - including ambulatory care- when conducting examinations into supply of general hospital and nursing home facilities. "Providing access to quality health care is of the utmost importance. Any hospital closings should occur only if the health care needs of that community can be negated," concluded Senator Smith.

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