Eric Adams Elmhurst Hospital

FUNDING WHERE IT'S NEEDED MOST: Mayor Adams announced that NYC Health + Health and private safety-net hospitals will receive nearly $140 million in funding to hire nurses and other staff amid increasing coronavirus hospitalizations. Sustaining staffing levels was key since safety-net hospitals serve the low-income communities that have been disproportionately affected by COVID.

Safety-net hospitals, including the city’s 11 public facilities, will get $138 million in additional funding to help overcome the surge in coronavirus hospitalizations due to the Omicron variant, Mayor Adams and city health officials said Jan. 5.

The city will provide $111 million to NYC Health + Hospitals, which will be used to hire doctors, Nurses, Medical Technicians and other key staff needed to address the increase in patients. Hospitals across the city are facing staffing shortages because of COVID cases among staff, as well as retention issues. 

'First Line of Defense'

“Public hospitals have been the first line of defense against COVID, and these dollars will give them the resources that they need from being hit hard with the pandemic,” Mr. Adams said at a Jan. 5 press conference at Elmhurst Hospital, which became the epicenter of the virus outbreak in the spring of 2020.

The funding will also be used to hire 250 employees at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, including Case Investigators, Inspectors and laboratory personnel.

“The additional COVID-19 funding secured by Mayor Adams will help us further secure necessary staff that will not only help care for New Yorkers during our Omicron surge, but also provide relief to our healthcare heroes," said H+H President and CEO Mitchell Katz.

Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi noted that although the number of virus hospitalizations was less than half of what it was during the height of the pandemic, “about 75 to 80 percent of all hospital beds across New York City are occupied right now, and that number we do expect to increase in the coming days.”

'Vital to Surge Resources'

“This is why it is so vital for us to surge resources and support to our health care system, particularly to our safety- net and H +H Hospitals," he added.

In addition to the money for H+H facilities, the Adams administration is relaunching the COVID-19 Hospital Loan Fund for privately-run safety-net hospitals, which disproportionately serve low-income patients. The fund was established by the New York City Economic Development Corp.

The city is adding $27 million to the fund, which has already helped safety-net hospitals hire 2,400 staff. The loans will be provided by Goldman Sachs.

Mr. Adams said the fund will ensure those hospitals "are getting what they need to fight COVID," pay salaries, and provide protective equipment, testing and vaccine administration and distribution citywide.

Lauded by NYSNA

The New York State Nurses Association has been sounding the alarm about the staffing crisis at hospitals across the city and state. It's executive director, Pat Kane, praised the city’s investment.

“Nurses and healthcare professionals have been overworked and understaffed for nearly two years," she said. [This] announcement of additional funding is critical to supporting our health-care workers and delivering the care that all our patients need." 

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer Jan. 9 urged the Federal government to do its part to help fund city hospitals, joining with Mr. Adams and other elected officials in renewing demands for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to speed up its reimbursement to NYC H+H, which in October 2020 requested relief from over $900 million in costs associated with the coronavirus.

“We have already told FEMA, get the new money out immediately so our hospitals can do the job they are meant to do,” Mr. Schumer said. “The delays we had are unacceptable."

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