Remarks by Ram Raju, MD
President, NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation
Good evening and welcome to the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation’s Financial Year 2015 Annual Public Meeting for the Borough of Manhattan.
As President of the Health and Hospitals Corporation, I would like to thank you for joining us tonight and would like introduce;
who are here representing the HHC Board of Directors.
Also on this panel are Salvatore Russo, General Counsel and moderator for the evening, and Patricia Lockhart, Secretary to the Corporation.
On behalf of the board I would like to extend our thanks to The Health and Hospital Corporation’s Manhattan facility leadership, Senior Vice Presidents Antonio Martin and Denise Soares and Executive Directors; Steven Alexander, Anthony Rajkumar, Robert Hughes and Martha Sullivan and their staff for providing exemplary service to the Corporation and the patients we serve. Thank you for being here this evening and for all you do to make the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation a better organization.
And to all of you here this evening, thank you for attending the New York Health and Hospitals Corporation’s Financial Year 2015 Annual Public Meeting for Manhattan.
As President and CEO of the Health and Hospitals Corporation, I am glad to welcome you to tonight’s meeting. The Board and I deeply appreciate that you have taken time out of your busy lives to attend.
By showing up this evening, and at countless other meetings and events throughout the year, you demonstrate a level of commitment to New York City’s public hospital system that makes it the nation’s largest and strongest. One of the ways our City is unique is that New Yorkers have historically recognized the need for a public hospital system, because we understand that public hospitals are essential to keeping the City healthy and safe.
One need look no further than last October’s Ebola scare to illustrate this point. When the City was threatened, the Health and Hospitals Corporation was confident, ready, and prepared. We partnered with the Mayor’s Office, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the State to step forward and safeguard the health of every New Yorker. And that’s exactly what we did.
The patient returned to good health.
The City was protected.
And the threat of epidemic and panic, gave way to public understanding that forethought, training, and planning by public health officials had proven entirely effective.
That incident is but one recent example of why New Yorkers have historically supported a strong public hospitals system — — a system that combines top quality care with a commitment to serve every New Yorker in need.
The tremendous ties our hospitals, diagnostic treatment centers and clinics have to the communities we serve across the city, remains the foundation of the Health and Hospitals Corporation’s strength, and its endurance.
However, the fact is, the Health and Hospital Corporation needs your support more than ever before.
That is because today’s healthcare landscape is undergoing great change. And these changes pose challenges to public hospitals systems across the country, and here in New York.
For example, the Affordable Care Act has made insurance available for many people who now for the first time, have options to seek care outside our system. Traditional sources or federal funding for “safety net” hospitals are slowly being reduced as a result.
At the same time major reforms to Medicare and Medicaid are driving big changes in the way we deliver health care to our patients, and in the way we are reimbursed by 3d party payers for services provided to patients.
In order to survive, and to continue serving the nearly 1.5 million New Yorkers who seek our care each year, The Health and Hospitals Corporation is striving each and every day to meet these challenges.
We are committed to securing our essential role as New York City’s Public Hospitals system, and to ensuring that we continue fulfilling our mission of providing health care to all.
Last month we announced Vision 2020. This is an ambitious agenda which will position the Corporation more competitively, by building on transformational work done over the past two decades that produced outstanding quality and safety achievements.
Vision 2020 sets strategic priorities for achieving improved levels of patient satisfaction at each of our facilities. Vision 2020 also calls for expanding access to care, building our patient base, and securing the system’s financial stability all within the next 5 years.
Meeting each of these goals is necessary for the public hospital system to continue providing highest quality, cost competitive, culturally competent, and geographically convenient health care services to New Yorkers.
In 2014, approximately 316,000 patients accessed New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation services at our Manhattan hospitals, diagnostic treatment centers and long term care facilities.
From Harlem to downtown —
from Roosevelt Island to the Lower East Side—
— The public hospital system has been here for Manhattan for over 250 years.
We have been here for the city’s workforce which depends on our services disproportionately.
And we’ve been here for the thousands and thousands of our employees who work at facilities across the city.
We’ve been here for the approximately 118,000 uninsured patients who accessed our care in Manhattan last year.
And I’m here to say tonight that we will absolutely continue to be here for Manhattan in the future.
New Yorkers seeking care at our Manhattan facilities can do so with confidence that our operations are stronger than
In 2014 —
— Bellevue Hospital Center,
— Harlem Hospital,
— Coler Rehabilitation Nursing Care Center
— Henry J. Carter Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility — were each awarded certification by the Joint Commission, the nation’s foremost standards-setting and accrediting body in health care.
But before we proceed with tonight’s meeting, let me quickly mention a few noteworthy transformational projects underway at facilities here in Manhattan:
A large portion of the total settlement amount will be used here in Manhattan for restoration and mitigation work at Bellevue, Metropolitan and Coler Rehabilitation Center.
These initiatives, and many others we won’t have time to mention tonight, are indicative of progress and innovation happening every day at the Health and Hospitals Corporation’s facilities in Manhattan. We will never stop seeking to improve our operations in order to raise the quality care we already provide, to an even higher level.
We are focused as never before on ensuring that our patient’s experience of our care is our overarching priority in everything we do.
Better patient experience will lead to better patient retention, to a broader patient base, and to increased market share, all of which will result in financial sustainability.
These initiatives reflect our commitment to remain a strong, viable partner with the communities of this borough as we endeavor together to achieve population health and wellness for all New Yorkers.
I’m glad to have the opportunity tonight to bring them to your attention.
Thank you. I feel privileged to lead this Corporation and to be here this evening with all of you.