New York governor dedicates added $100M for SUNY Downstate transformation

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul's 30-day budget amendments have allotted up to $300 million for a capital investment as part of the transformation plan for University Hospital at Downstate, part of SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, along with an additional $100 million to cover its deficit in the first year of the transition. 

"Governor Hochul's executive budget reinforces the State's unprecedented commitment to building a stronger Downstate," Dawn Walker, vice president of communications and marketing for Downstate Health Sciences University, said in a statement shared with Becker's. 

In late January, the state of New York shared plans to shrink or possibly close University Hospital at Downstate in New York City's Brooklyn borough due to challenges like an operating deficit of around $100 million, a deteriorating hospital building and low patient volumes. 

SUNY Downstate, which is New York City's single public academic medical center, was then directed to develop a transformational plan to solidify its future and prevent closure. The plan includes transfer of Downstate inpatient care to other Brooklyn hospitals and could result in a reduction in workforce.

"This essential investment will be critical to the continued success of Downstate, its world-class medical professionals and staff, and competitive and diverse medical students," Ms. Walker said.

Ms. Hochul's 30-day amendments have also been met with concerns from United University Professions, a higher education union that represents over 2,300 SUNY Downstate workers.

"Rather than heeding the call of local patients and community members asking for a meaningful discussion about the future of the institution, Gov. Hochul seems poised to plow ahead with this destructive agenda - devised in secret and presented as a fait accompli - which will undoubtedly harm the health of the Central Brooklyn community," a UUP Feb. 16 news release said. 

The union said it looks forward to working with legislature to correct the plan.

Editor's note: This story was updated on Feb. 22 at 3:00 pm CST.

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