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State wants control over struggling hospitals, ability to fire execs

State wants control over struggling hospitals, ability to fire execs

A New York panel yesterday proposed giving the state the power to take over struggling hospitals and fire inferior hospital board members and executives, reports The Wall Street Journal.

According to the report, ineffective governance is a major issue plaguing Brooklyn hospitals. With that in mind, the panel is urging that the state’s health commissioner be able to replace bad management at private hospitals "that present a danger to the health or safety of their patients," notes the WSJ.

The panel, appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, also recommended merging several of Brooklyn’s failing hospitals. It said that Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center should take over Brookdale Hospital Medical Center, and Brooklyn Hospital Center should take control of both Interfaith Medical Center and Wyckoff Heights Hospital. Together, Interfaith, Brookdale, and Wyckoff have a long-term debt of $276 million.

However, merging struggling hospitals hardly ever produced viable ones in Brooklyn, notes The New York Times, where more than one in five residents live below the poverty line, and two in five are Medicaid recipients.

Although the report aims to improve the area’s weak hospital system, efforts to expand the health commissioner’s authority likely would face resistance. For instance, Greater New York Hospital Association President Kenneth Raske said that he believes hospitals "will work to ensure that any new legislation does not give the Department of Health excessive powers that could ultimately undermine a hospital’s ability to deliver care to its community."