A week after Mayor Bill de Blasio promised another cash infusion for the city's struggling public hospitals, the head of that network was in front of the city council, getting grilled on how exactly he plans to save the system. Our Courtney Gross has this report from City Hall.
No layoffs and no hospital closures were just some of the promises from the head of the city's public hospital system.
"In the next four years we will transform the system," said President and Chief Executive Officer of New York City Health and Hospitals Dr. Ramanathan Raju.
A week ago, Mayor de Blasio was giving the struggling hospital system a cash infusion once again — another $160 million to put the agency back in the black.
"This is going to be a transformational moment for health and hospitals," the mayor said.
So on Tuesday, the head of the public hospital system had to explain to the City Council how he was going to make the agency sustainable as it faces a $1.8 billion budget gap in a few short years.
"The next president will be from New York," Dr. Raju said. "The next majority leader will be from New York. So we should be able to work with the federal government to get things done."
About half of the agency's $1.1 billion rescue plan will need approval from either Washington or Albany.
Some of those programs are a hefty chunk of the budget ballooning by the millions in just a few years — take the money they expect to get in the form of charity care dollars.
"We're relying upon again, federal and state action to benefit the corporation," said Manhattan City Councilman Corey Johnson. "I mean where do we go buy the Powerball ticket?"
On top of that, council members complain they were missing details of the rescue plan.
"The details that you have provided to us have not necessarily justified or given us an explanation of how it is you are going to get there," said Queens City Councilwoman Julissa Ferraras-Copeland.
Hospital officials say this rescue plan is already in motion and it will take about four years to implement. And despite the skepticism from City Council members, hospital officials say they won't be in the same situation next year.
"Overall this is a solid good plan," Dr. Raju said.