ALBANY, N.Y. November 28, 2006 - New York State United Teachers President Richard C. Iannuzzi today said that a state commission's recommendation to privatize SUNY teaching hospitals in Syracuse, Brooklyn and Stony Brook makes no sense.
"It's like treating a heart attack by amputating a leg," Iannuzzi said. "Privatizing vital health care services and eliminating physician training and education programs will only make New York's health care problems worse."
NYSUT Executive Vice President Alan B. Lubin said that investing in SUNY hospitals safeguards the hospitals' vital role in biomedical research, public health and economic development. Lubin added that the value of the hospitals can't be measured solely in dollars and cents.
"The SUNY hospitals are an investment in our communities," Lubin said. "Not only do they provide vital health care services to underserved communities, but they are also training grounds for our future health care professionals.
"This kind of decision should be made by patient advocates and the health care professionals who actually provide the care. This is too important to be left to some government-appointed bean counters in Albany."
Lubin expressed concern about the uninsured patients treated at the SUNY hospitals.
"Families with little income and no health insurance often turn to the SUNY hospitals for care," Lubin said. "If these hospitals are privatized, where will those families turn?"
NYSUT represents 575,000 teachers, school-related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education, professionals in education and health care and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.