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Schumer pushes for 2 CNY hospitals to receive COVID funding

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News (file photo)
Sen. Charles Schumer.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) wants to make sure two central New York hospitals get a fair share of federal emergency funding earmarked for health providers facing fiscal uncertainty because of the coronavirus.

Even though elective surgery has resumed, Crouse Hospital in Syracuse is still feeling the economic impact of the coronavirus. Crouse CEO Kimberly Boynton said for example, people are still shying away from the emergency room.

“At Crouse, a typical day would be 170-175,” Boynton said. “These days, we are seeing 120. So, you can see there’s a variance every day in emergency room volume, which drives the rest of our volume. 50% of our admissions come through the emergency room.”

That’s on top of a $20 million hole that’s forced Crouse to furlough workers. St. Joseph’s is in the same boat, furloughing employees, and also forced to close some facilities because of a $40 million gap.

The two hospitals are among two dozen in New York that didn’t receive any COVID related emergency funding during the last federal round of hospital aid, because they didn’t meet certain federal criteria. Schumer wants that changed. He’s asking the Department of Health and Human Services to come up with a new distribution formula that would include Crouse and St. Joseph’s. He said there is still plenty of federal cash available.

"There’s still $75 billion sitting in Washington,” Schumer said. “So, we have a real good chance to change this formula so hospitals like St. Joe’s and Crouse can get the money they need.”

Schumer expects to have an answer within the next month.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.