The ongoing negotiations in Washington DC over the debt ceiling are being watched very closely by senior officials at the Stony Brook University Medical Center, which could lose as much as $30 million in federal subsidies if cuts to Medicare programs are part of a final compromise.
The New York Times reported this week that New York teaching hospitals—Stony Brook Hospital included—could stand to suffer more than the national average if the cuts to Medicare programs that congressional Republicans are seeking are part of a larger series of spending cuts. President Obama has indicated that he may be willing to accept some cuts to Medicare, but many congressional Democrats have voiced strong opposition to the plan.
“While there is no formal proposal on the table, we have heard that significant cuts to Medicare medical education payments have been discussed that could have a negative impact of up to $30 million on Stony Brook University Medical Center,” said Stony Brook Hospital CEO Steven Strongwater on Friday.
That would be part of an estimated $1 billion in cuts to teaching hospitals across New York State, reported the New York Times.
A $30 million loss would be devastating to Stony Brook University Medical Center, which also saw state funding cut in half this year under Governor Cuomo’s cost-cutting budget. All told, Stony Brook University Medical Center could lose as much as $60 million this year if the federal government moves ahead with Medicare cuts.
A cut of that size, almost 7 percent of SBUMC’s overall budget, could begin to have noticeable impacts on both patient treatment and physician training, warns Strongwater.
“We feel strongly that reducing medical education payments would be extremely harmful in light of the current physician shortage and growing demand for health care under health reform and because of our aging population,” he said.