NY comptroller: 'Imperative' NYC Health + Hospitals stabilize cash level

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The New York State comptroller's office said it is "imperative" city officials devise a way to stabilize NYC Health + Hospitals' finances following projections the hospital system will end the current fiscal year with its lowest cash level in at least 15 years, according to Bloomberg Business.

NYC Health + Hospitals, the largest public hospital system in the U.S., serves approximately 1.4 million patients per year.

According to a report on New York City's finances issued by the state comptroller's office Monday, the hospital system projects it will close the fiscal year ending June 30 with a cash balance of $104 million, enough to support six days of operations, Bloomberg reported.

NYC Health + Hospitals has historically taken care of the city's poorest and sickest patients, with about 80 percent of its patients on Medicaid. Now the system is struggling to deal with the costs of treating undocumented immigrants as the federal government cuts its funding under the Disproportionate Share Hospital subsidies, according to the report.

NYC Health + Hospitals estimates DSH cuts will rise from $180 million in fiscal year 2017 to upwards of $508 million in 2018, and the hospital system's projected losses will increase to $2 billion in 2019 from $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2016, according to the report.

"It's time for them to sit down and see how to restructure the operation," said Ken Bleiwas, New York State deputy comptroller, according to the report. "It's not sustainable … It's not a structurally balanced operation when a large segment of your customer base can't pay."

NYC Health + Hospitals may need larger subsidies from the city. In the meantime, New York City has not required the hospital system to reimburse it for the cost of medical malpractice and debt service. Additionally, Mayor Bill de Blasio's budget proposal includes increasing the city's aid by $337 million and working with NYC Health + Hospitals on a restructuring plan, according to the report.

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