New York City has become the latest city to announce plans to close hospitals and other facilities to reduce hospital admissions and other hospital costs as doctors flock to lower-income neighborhoods to escape punitive charges from medical malpractices.
The plan is part of a broader effort by New York State to reduce costs by closing hospitals and forcing patients to seek care elsewhere, according to a report by the New York Times.
The plan will likely be met with strong opposition, particularly from hospitals, which say the plan is expensive and unnecessary, and that it could have a chilling effect on the health care system, especially for children.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the plan on Thursday in an effort to reduce the state’s healthcare costs and curb the spread of the coronavirus, which killed nearly 9,000 people in the city last year.
“I don’t think it’s necessary for us to shut down hospitals and hospitals shut down,” Cuomo said.
“I think we have to be thoughtful about what’s in our best interest, what’s best for the state, and what’s the best for patients.”
Cuomo announced plans to shutter about 40 facilities across the state.
New York State, which is a leader in its health care reforms, announced last year that it was closing hospitals in the state by 2019.
It said it would focus on reducing the number of uninsured patients and limiting the number and types of medical tests required of patients, a move that would reduce hospital costs by as much as $10 billion a year.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is a supporter of the plan and has repeatedly said that New York will have to close the hospitals that it does not already operate.
State officials are already working to implement the plan, and they plan to meet with hospital administrators in coming weeks, according the Times.
“The goal of the program is to bring down the cost of health care in New York,” De Blasio said.
The Times reported that health care experts say the changes could reduce the cost to hospitals by as little as $4,000 a patient, or $10,000 for a family of four.
Some doctors have said that the plan could actually cause more harm than good, with the Times saying that hospitals would end up spending millions on unnecessary tests and tests they did not need, and could end up closing fewer hospitals.
Doctors also said that, because of the increased costs, it would force them to stop caring for patients.
De Blasio said that he hopes that hospitals will agree to the plan.
But some doctors have argued that the plans could actually increase the number or severity of hospitalizations.
According to a study from the Center for American Progress, more than half of all hospitalizations in New England were related to coronaviruses in 2014, and more than 40 percent of those patients were hospitalized for a prolonged period of time.
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