SUNY’s decision to restructure the public teaching hospital at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University has sparked concern among community leaders and healthcare advocates. The plan, which would essentially make Downstate a wing of Kings County Hospital Center, would also see other healthcare services currently provided by the hospital outsourced to neighboring facilities.
The implementation of this plan would inevitably lead to the closure of SUNY Downstate, leaving patients without access to essential care. This hasty move has raised concerns about undermining the hospital’s central mission and its impact on the Brooklyn communities it serves.
As a public teaching hospital, Downstate plays a critical role in providing care to all patients, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay for services. The hospital primarily serves people of color, low-income individuals, uninsured, underinsured, undocumented, and at-risk populations who have limited access to affordable health care. These patients are at a higher risk for serious diseases and face higher morbidity rates compared to other populations in the city and state.
It is imperative that elected officials intervene and stop SUNY’s closure plan for Downstate. Instead of closing down the hospital altogether, efforts should be made to develop a sustainability plan that ensures that it can continue to provide essential care to the communities it serves. By doing so, we can ensure that vulnerable populations have access to quality healthcare services they need and deserve.