SUNY Downstate Medical Center faces insolvency as soon as May, said New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
As of the end of 2012 the Brooklyn center had $154 million in outstanding debt, according to State University of New York spokesman David Doyle. The center is part of the university system.
“SUNY Downstate’s fiscal condition is dire and it needs all hands on deck if it is going to survive,” DiNapoli said after releasing an audit of the center Thursday. “Management has made poor financial decisions that often times weren’t justified by economic conditions,” he said. “As a result, the hospital is hemorrhaging millions of dollars every week. This hospital is a key part of the health care delivery system in the city and is a major employer in Brooklyn.”
The center has facilities in three Brooklyn neighborhoods and employs 8,000 people, making it Brooklyn’s fourth largest employer. DiNapoli said that in 2012 losses at the center may have exceeded $200 million.
DiNapoli has made nine recommendations to address the center’s problems.
“Many of the comptroller’s findings – none of which we dispute or consider to be a surprise – are issues already remedied or currently being addressed at Downstate,” SUNY chancellor Nancy Zimpher said. “SUNY system administration has recruited a strong new leadership team at Downstate that is developing a comprehensive, fiscally responsible plan to ensure medical education and quality healthcare continues for the people of Brooklyn.”
Eric Sumberg, DiNapoli’s spokesman, responded, “If SUNY is clear that the problems are known, they should be equally clear in stating when revenues and expenses will be in alignment and what specific steps they will take to get there and what the dollar impact will be for each of those steps.”