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Central New York advocates call for more Medicaid funding in state budget

Health care advocates rally for more financial support from the state for hospitals and nursing homes.
Jessica Cain
Health care advocates rally for more financial support from the state for hospitals and nursing homes.

Central New York health care workers and advocates are calling for action, as part of a statewide rally about Medicaid reimbursement rates.

Crouse Hospital labor and delivery nurse Tori Gushea said she and her co-workers strive to give every patient the best care possible. But she worries about the effect the current Medicaid funding structure will have on health care resources and patients’ options.

 "I don't want any amount of the stress of this broken health care system to affect the birth story for my patients. They all deserve better,” Gushea said.

Local health care advocates said more than 7 million New Yorkers rely on Medicaid, but the state pays hospitals 30 percent less than the actual cost of care, and the state pays 24 percent less to nursing homes.

Menorah Park of CNY CEO Russ D’Amico said state Medicaid reimbursement rates for long term care haven’t been increased since 2007, and they need to be adjusted.

"If this doesn't happen, what you'll find is nursing homes will be closing throughout the state,” D’Amico said. “If you look at other states, their rates are much higher than ours."

Assemblyman Al Stirpe (D-Syracuse) said the legislature talks about this issue every year, and it’s time to take action. Stirpe said when discussing issues in conference, lawmakers often ask, “Is this a hill you’re willing to die on?”

"I can tell you, the vast majority of the people in our conference are saying, 'Yes.' This is something that important that we would hold up the budget if it's not happening,” Stirpe said.

Health care advocates are calling for Gov. Kathy Hochul to consider redistributing money from her rainy day fund to help create Medicaid equity.


Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.