SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The deadline for the governor and legislators to agree on a state budget is text week, so now is the time groups wanting or needing money will publicly push for their requests.
That includes United University Professions, the union that represents doctors, researchers and other workers at Upstate University Hospital. It does not represent nurses.
UUP is urging Governor Kathy Hochul to support the $150 million designated for the state’s three SUNY-operated hospitals in the Assembly’s version of the proposed budget: Upstate, Downstate and Stony Brook.
UUP President Fred Kowal said Governor Andrew Cuomo stripped SUNY hospitals of their subsidy funding over the years, leaving the hospitals to fund themselves without state support. Unlike other SUNY campuses, the hospitals are responsible for paying off construction debt.
The union claims Upstate Hospital has lost millions of dollars per mouth over the course of the pandemic, so now public funds need to stabilize public hospitals.
Broken down, the Assembly’s budget allocates $75 million in subsidies to SUNY hospitals and $68 million for debt relief. $143 million total.
The Senate’s version is about half, only the $68 million for debt relief.
Upstate Medical University, like the other SUNY teaching hospitals, is unique as it doesn’t not get any state dollars for operations. Community colleges and SUNY campuses receive significant state assistance.
Senator Rachel May, who introduced a bill to direct the state to stop collecting debt servicing funds from the SUNY hospitals, said: “I fully support increased funding for SUNY hospitals, which provide critical services for our community and whose workers have gone above and beyond during the pandemic. $150 million would restore past levels of funding, and I will work to get as much of that as possible in the state budget.”
Senator John Mannion said, “SUNY Upstate and the other SUNY medical schools are too important and their unique needs must be addressed in this budget. They provide high-quality education, top-flight medical care, world-class research, and vital jobs and economic activity. Ensuring SUNY Upstate gets its fair share – including debt relief – is one of my top budget priorities.”