Busy week and so I'd figured on not posting much, but we've been waiting for the announcement of those selected for New York's hospital/nursing home closure commission and the news is in ... things are breaking down politically over the commission's membership and they've already missed the deadline for appointments. How entirely unsurprising.
In today's Albany Times Union, James Odato writes in Leaders clash over hospital panel that the Governor and the Legislature are already behind schedule in naming the membership. Pataki's list of nominees was ready last Friday, the deadline, but there's already a dispute over whether to appoint lobbyists and health care trade association representatives to the commission.
Pataki was ready to announce his appointees last Friday -- the deadline. But he and the Legislature's leaders have been struggling over the composition and on whether to allow lobbyists or stakeholders in the health care industry on the panel, according to health care officials.
"Stakeholders." What a euphemism! What a crock! Eighteen members was too limiting anyway. Why don't we just expand the membership of the commission to include the CEOs of every hospital in the State and let them vote to decide who gets thrown off the island? (Just make sure that they all have to wear some sort of garish tropical print shorts and no shirts and force them to eat bugs for a week.)
Read the article closely and what do you see? Virtually everyone quoted says "not me, not me," they don't want such representation. Does this mean they're all being disingenuous or does it mean that the real hold up is Ken Raske, head of the Greater New York Hospital Association?
- Even without the quote, "representatives of SEIU say they don't have to be on the panel," I doubt that it's Dennis Rivera, head of District 1199 (who gets bashed by the Post again here) because he doesn't need a seat at the table. His presence will loom over the entire proceedings anyway. Why only have one seat out of 18?
- Doesn't sound like it's Assembly Health Committee Chairman Dick Gottfried who's quoted, "An active issue is whether to appoint stakeholders or not," ... "Appointing stakeholders would be questionable at best." But it could be Assembly leadership
- It's not HANYS, which is quoted saying it "doesn't want any hospital group or worker union on the commission." and "It would obviously be a conflict.
Carl Young, the head of NYAHSA is a good guy, but his heartfelt desire reflected in the quote at the end of the article
I cling to the hope this commission can be a vehicle for much broader policy thinking, not just closing hospitals
is just asking for way to much. Sorry Carl, this has been raw politics from the beginning and it's only going to get worse.