Advocacy Update – Fall 2023 Newsletter

IHA is gearing up for a productive FY-2025 budget and 2024 legislative session. We have been speaking with members to gather input about their concerns and using them to finalize our legislative priorities list. IHA has also begun meeting with state leaders such as the Health Commissioner, Jim McDonald and new budget director, Blake Washington to inform them of the challenges that upstate healthcare faces and the steps the state can take to bring reprieve.

Current projections forecast that State revenues will be approximately $9.2 billion lower than the previous year, which could result in tighter purse strings for the FY-2025 budget. Compounding to that issue in the healthcare sphere is the denial of a Federal match to fund the already implemented Healthcare Worker Bonus. New York is now on the hook for the full amount of $1.2 billion.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Studies is increasing the New York Rural wage index factor by 43%. The estimated impact of this change will be an additional $810,031,008 going to upstate hospitals. While this is incredibly helpful, IHA has made it a priority to inform state legislators that this money cannot replace state funding and support is still necessary through programs such as DSH, DPT, and VAPAP.

Political Landscape

The 2023 legislative session came to a close in mid-June after a flurry of activity where a whopping 546 bills passed both houses between June 1st and June 10th. Legislators briefly came back at the end of June for some unfinished business, however several highly contentious issues such as healthcare for illegal immigrants and tenant protections were left on the table where they have remained since then. As lawmakers begin to prepare for a new budget and legislative session we can expect to see those issues surface again and continue as hot-button items.
Governor Hochul has yet to bring a strong presence to her role, negotiations last year went at a much slower pace than NYS is accustomed to and there is reason to believe this year negotiations will take a similar shape. We will wait for January to get a formal read on the Governor’s priorities for this year when she makes her State of the State address.

FY-Budget Priorities

Going into budget discussions we are prioritizing funding programs that will assist our members in evening out their margins and putting them in a more secure position. We are also looking for the state to invest in workforce programming to work towards building the pipeline of healthcare workers in the future. The funding sources and programs we are discussing include:

  • Distressed Hospital Fund
  • Safety Net Hospital Fund
  • Healthcare Transformation Fund
  • Directed Payment Template (DPT)
Legislative Priorities

Last session IHA worked with Upstate legislators on a number of workforce related bills focusing on expanding scope of practice and offering flexibility for hospitals suffering from staffing challenges. Those included; a more comprehensive draft of a temporary licensure bill, licensure compact, expanded mobile integrated health programming and expanded scope of practice.

Legislative action coupled with increased funding support will greatly improve the currently precarious situation that upstate healthcare finds itself in today. We will continue to work tirelessly on these initiatives to get them over the finish line. As always IHA thanks its members for the heroic work they do day in and day out. Their contributions to the IHA vacancy and financial surveys are vital in the work that IHA does and it would not be possible without them. We look forward to continuing that work over the next few months.

New Workgroups

This fall, IHA is launching two new dedicated work groups to create platforms for collaboration, discussion, and action. These include the IHA Workplace Violence Workgroup and the CNO Workgroup.

We will be distributing CNO Workgroup event details in the coming months.

The IHA Workplace Violence Workgroup will have its inaugural meeting on Wednesday, November 15th at 1:00pm. The goal of this group is to develop strategies to enhance safety within hospitals using education and trainings as well as data collection and analysis. If you or any of your staff would like to participate in the workgroup please register for the event using the link below.

Please register in advance for this meeting using the link below:
When: Nov 15, 2023 01:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Thank you to our committee members that helped us in the creation of the toolkit by providing invaluable feedback and guidance – Marq Brown, Alissa Viscome, Todd Webb, Jim Marco, and Leeann Light.