Medina hospital speaks out against proposed state Medicaid cuts

Photos by Tom Rivers: Medina Mayor Mike Sidari speaks during a new conference on Friday. The mayor said Medina Memorial Hospital is critical to the community for providing care to people in Medina, Orleans County and eastern Niagara. The hospital also is an important employment provider, Sidari said. Marc Shurtz, who is next to Sidari, is the hospital’s corporate compliance director and head of information technology.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 March 2019 at 10:15 am

MEDINA – Orleans County’s lone hospital is trying to raise awareness about proposed cuts in Medicaid, which would reduce Medina Memorial Hospital’s revenue by $400,000 the next two years.

For a rural, low-volume hospital those cuts can be devastating, said Larry Knox, political and community engagement coordinator for 1199SEIU, a union for healthcare workers.

“In rural hospitals there is no fat to cut,” he said during a news conference and rally on Friday at Medina Memorial Hospital.

Gov. Cuomo proposed the Medicaid reductions as part of his budget proposal in January. Healthcare workers from throughout the state will be in Albany on Tuesday to send a message to state legislators to restore the $500 million in Medicaid funding for hospitals of all sizes.

Larry Knox, right, is the political and community engagement coordinator for 1199SEIU, a union for healthcare workers. Several union members attended the conference at Medina Memorial on Friday. Healthcare workers will be in Albany on Tuesday to protest the proposed Medicaid cuts.

“The union and the hospital administration do not always agree on issues but in this case we are in total agreement,” said Amy Stiles, a respiratory therapist at Medina Memorial the past 19 years. “These cuts will assuredly lead to more layoffs which will severely impact safe patient care.”

The hospital is part of Orleans Community Health, which has healthcare sites in Albion, Medina and Batavia.

Mark Cye, OCH chief executive officer, said the Medina Memorial is the only “safety net” hospital in the region.

“Consistent state and federal funding cuts jeopardize the future of hospitals across our state,” Cye said.

Stiles, the respiratory therapist, urged the state to look for cuts elsewhere in a $175 billion state budget.

“The health of our community is at stake,” she said.

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