2007-05-04 / Community

Smith Restores State Funding For Hospitals And Nursing Homes

Hospitals and nursing homes in Southeast Queens will receive an additional $14.2 million in revenue as a result of Senator Malcolm A. Smith's opposition to proposed healthcare spending cuts in the 2007-08 Executive Budget. The Senate Democratic Leader said he fought to restore substantial healthcare funds to keep the focus on patients.

"The people of Queens need more health care, not less," said Smith. "I believe the proposed budget cuts would have devastated the people and healthcare institutions in my district. During recent budget negotiations, I did everything in my power to offset those potential losses and restore sufficient funds to address the pressing healthcare needs of my constituents."

Governor Eliot Spitzer proposed to cut $810,000 in Medicaid reimbursement for Rockaway's two hospitals, St. John's Episcopal and Peninsula Hospital Center. Senate Democrats not only restored this amount entirely, but added an additional $1.2 million for a total of $2.1 million in the next fiscal year. St. John's will receive $660,000 and Peninsula will receive $1.5 million.

Nursing home restorations were determined, in part, by a new formula to redistribute workforce recruitment and retention funding.

"I also recognized the need to restore funds for nursing homes, which serve some of our most vulnerable residents," Smith said. "The proposed cuts, while well-intended, would have adversely affected the quality of life for my constituents who reside in a long-term care setting."

Many nursing homes in and around the Rockaway peninsula will receive varying monetary amounts to be distributed from the $12 million restored by the Legislature for the 14th Senatorial District.

"This is a long-term investment in precisely the kinds of medical care that constituents have asked me to protect," Smith said. "They say, and I certainly agree, that our local health care institutions are the heart and soul of our community."

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