Monday, May 31, 2010

Public Health Crisis

Quoted entirely from WNBC Channel 4 :
Queens Hospitals Overcrowded in Wake of Recent Closings
Updated 5:30 PM EDT, Mon, May 24, 2010

fter a series of hospital closures and reduced state support -- most recently the closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan -- many New York City hospitals are severely overcrowded, particularly in the borough of Queens.

St. Vincent’s, the last Catholic general hospital in New York City, closed on Apr. 28. 

Three other Queens hospitals, including Mary Immaculate Hospital, a Level 1 Trauma center, closed in the past two years, leaving Queens with the smallest bed-to-resident ratio in the city, Kenneth Raske, President of the Greater New York Hospital Association, told the Wall Street Journal.

According to the paper, in 2008 Queens had 1.7 beds per 1000 residents, as compared to 5.7 in Manhattan and 2.7 in the Bronx

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, a not-for-profit whose Emergency Room  was designed to handle 60,000 visits a year but saw 130,000 visits in 2009, a 30 percent increase from the previous year, a hospital spokesman told NBCNewYork. In the first three  months of this year, ER visits increased by another 10 percent.

According to the spokesman, although there is no direct relationship between Jamaica Hospital’s patient surge and St. Vincent’s closing last month, “each reflects the reality of the demographics in New York City.”

“There was no real meaningful communication, coordination, or planning on the part of the New York State Department of Health with the surrounding hospitals for the closing of Mary Immaculate so that the.. patient surge following the closing could be properly handled,” said the spokesman.

If another hospital were to close, Raske told the Washington Post, “it could precipitate a public health crisis."

First Published: May 24, 2010 2:12 PM EDT

The disasterous legacy of Bloomberg-Quinn's term limits maneuvering

Testimony by Michael D.D. White of Noticing New York delivered at the New York City Charter Revision Commission meeting on May 25, 2010

Michael D.D. White has posted the written remarks he delivered in testimony on May 25, 2010 at the New York City Charter Revision Commission’s hearing. Among his remarks, Mr. White also posted his own, independent commentary about the farce that has become what I've separately called the "charter revision barter commission:"

« John Keefe, a representative speaking on behalf of Assemblyman James Brennan’s office, went further: He said that because the commission had been convened to implement a pre-agreed-upon a 'cynical and opportunistic deal' between billionaires Michael Bloomberg and Ron Lauder (to repeal and then restore term limits after Bloomberg's election to a third term), that the commission should take no action at all as none could be considered legitimate. »

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Central Perk

" When Mayor Bloomberg wants something, he has plenty of tools to help him get it - friends in high places, a bully pulpit, six-figure donations to political parties and money for influential city nonprofits. ¶ One of his most prestigious and mysterious perks, however, has two wings and three engines, " Adam Lisberg reported in Sunday's New York Daily News.

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has been identified as being among the politicians, who received undisclosed luxury trips on Mayor Bloomberg's private jet, a Dassault Falcon 900s. At least one of Quinn's trips on the Mayor's jet was not disclosed in official government records, according to Mr. Lisberg.

Meanwhile, in an advisory to city employees, the Conflicts of Interest Board offered guidance in respect of accepting gifts from one's supervisor : accepting "regular and extravagant" gifts may create an appearance that a supervisor is "attempting to buy" certain kinds of behaviours from the supervisor's subordinates, Mr. Lisberg added. And now that Mr. Lisberg has reported about these extravagant gifts, how can City Council Speak Quinn or the other government officials, who have received these regular, luxury gifts, explain that they can remain independent, impartial, and free from undue influence or corrupt interference from the Mayor's Office, after they have accepted free rides on his private jet ?

Perks, privileges, and a sense of entitlement.

In her latest video blog, Suzannah B. Troy has lost her patience with Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speak Quinn. Ms. Troy has said, "Sub-zero trickle down when it comes to the people...huge trickle down for pals."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Organized medical emergency response

St. Vincent's Hospital - bankruptcy case update by Yetta Kurland

Community leader and activist, Yetta Kurland, gave a presentation to the Lower Manhattan community on May 13, 2010. Ms. Kurland described the legal process that has been taking place in the community's efforts to intervene, to prevent the full closing of St. Vincent's Hospital.

Ms. Kurland reported that Attorneys for St. Vincent's had opposed the community's attempt in NYS Supreme Court to make the hospital abide by NYS Health Department rules. After being challenged by Attorneys for St. Vincent's Hospital, the venue for the community's lawsuit was changed to bankruptcy court, where the bankruptcy judge claimed jurisdiction over the lawsuit over NYS Health Department rules, but the same judge denied that patients have the ability to sue to enforce NYS Health Department rules.

A classic Catch-22.