AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions

KEEP SUNY DOWNSTATE MEDICAL CENTER UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL OPEN

WHEREAS, SUNY Downstate Medical Center University Hospital is one of the few financially stable hospitals in Brooklyn and has been serving the East Flatbush section since 1967; and

WHEREAS, SUNY Downstate Medical Center University Hospital serves a community where more than one in five residents live below the poverty line, two in five receive Medicaid, and more than half are foreign born; and

WHEREAS, the proposal by investment banker Stephen Berger to consolidate SUNY Downstate Medical Center University Hospital at the Long Island College Hospital campus would shift services away from an area where there is a critical need for hospital beds serving the underprivileged, to an area that has a median income more than triple that of the community where SUNY Downstate Medical Center University Hospital is currently located; and

WHEREAS, SUNY Downstate Medical Center University Hospital's emergency department handles approximately 80,000 visits annually. Existing capacity at nearby hospitals cannot accommodate the shift in patient load. This could mean the diversion to other more distant emergency departments and a substantial delay in potentially lifesaving treatment for many patients; and

WHEREAS, Downstate Medical Center announced in June 2012 a financial restructuring plan that is expected to result in the layoffs of hundreds—if not thousands—of job losses and cuts in vital health care services. These caring, hard-working employees—many of them United University Professions and Public Employees Federation members—provide life-saving services with compassion to thousands of patients. SUNY Downstate Medical Center University Hospital is one of three SUNY academic medical centers in New York and the sole academic medical center in Brooklyn; and

WHEREAS, more New York City physicians have been trained at SUNY Downstate Medical Center University Hospital than at any other medical school; one in every three doctors in Brooklyn graduated from SUNY Downstate Medical Center University Hospital. More than half of Brooklyn's doctors in certain specialties have been trained at the center. Closing SUNY Downstate Medical Center University Hospital would negatively impact its teaching mission; and

WHEREAS, SUNY Downstate Medical Center University Hospital is Brooklyn's fourth-largest employer and contributes more than $1.3 billion yearly to the state's economy. Every dollar invested in SUNY Downstate Medical Center University Hospital returns approximately $12 to the local economy. Central Brooklyn is a very diverse community consisting of minority populations; the area's unemployment rate is the highest in the borough. Additionally, the number of foreclosures is the highest in Brooklyn. Moving inpatient services would not only affect access to quality healthcare services, but also negatively impact the area's economy and small businesses; and

WHEREAS, thousands of jobs would be at risk in Brooklyn as a result of these recommendations:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will join the New York State United Teachers and the United University Professions in fighting the closure of SUNY Downstate Medical Center University Hospital to protect the jobs of AFT, NYSUT, UUP and PEF members; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT and those members of the New York State United Teachers, the United University Professions and PEF stand in unity with the working class patients and the minority community that this medical center serves; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will use its political and financial resources to advocate the Legislature and the governor of the state of New York to keep SUNY Downstate Medical Center University Hospital open to maintain access to high-quality healthcare services to the residents of central Brooklyn.


(2012)