Op-ed: The real facts about—and solutions for—Maimonides

Crain’s New York Business
February 22, 2023
By Eugene Keilin

Maimonides is the largest hospital in Brooklyn and one of the best anywhere.

If your life is in danger from a heart attack, stroke or pneumonia, you are more likely to survive at Maimonides than at almost any other hospital in New York—year in and year out.

At Maimonides, we’re not just capable; we’re unique in breadth and depth. Our medical staff is literally world-class. We treat the most heart attacks in New York. We are the only accredited center for breast cancer and the only children’s hospital in Brooklyn. Our partnerships with SUNY Downstate and One Brooklyn Health improve care for many Brooklyn communities. We are working diligently to use scarce resources efficiently, but if Maimonides did not exist in its current form, health care in Brooklyn would suffer.

Are we perfect? No. We’re human. But we learn from our mistakes, and we make progress every day.

Because of our location and our mission, we provide great care to some of the most underserved New Yorkers. More than 80% depend on Medicaid and Medicare. Hospitals like Maimonides are called safety nets because we stand between the vulnerable and a void.

For years, neither Medicaid nor Medicare paid the full cost of care or adjusted for inflation. Still, we found ways and held our own until the pandemic. All hospitals suffered when Covid-19 arrived, and most still do. That’s why Gov. Kathy Hochul added $800 million for safety nets to last year’s state budget. That amount and more is needed in the new budget.

It is important to set the record straight about Maimonides, given the deceptive rhetoric unleashed against us by a group calling itself (with unintended irony) Save Maimonides. With opaque funding, the group has spent millions of dollars demonizing the hospital, using bad-faith arguments and appalling tactics. They’ve insulted health care workers, impersonated union representatives, deterred patients from seeking care and earned condemnation from many who actually understand Maimonides: our employees, physicians, United Healthcare Workers East and the New York State Nurses Association, as well as dozens of community leaders and elected officials.

The shadowy Save Maimonides group has sought control over the institution, but its behavior disqualifies it from any constructive role.

Follow the money. The real problem is funding. In our two-tier system, private insurance pays some hospitals far more for the same procedures than safety nets receive. That’s why “access” and “equity” are the key words in health care today. To achieve equity, we must find a way to pay for it.

So let me invite anyone who really wants to help Maimonides to be part of a constructive, viable and permanent solution.

The New York Safety Net Hospital Coalition has proposed raising Medicaid payments to the average that commercial insurers pay hospitals in New York. The proposal would promote equity, unlock more federal dollars, and replace emergency funding with stable revenues. Many legislators support the proposal as a long-term solution while fighting to put sufficient funds in the upcoming state budget to meet current needs. The health and well-being of the communities we serve depend on it.

Eugene Keilin chairs the Maimonides Health board of trustees.

We Are Committed to You

Maimonides has long distinguished itself as uniquely committed to engaging and serving Brooklyn’s diverse communities with cultural and religious sensitivity to all.

We Are #MaimoProud

Through difficult times, our staff have been resilient, they’ve been dedicated, they’ve been going above and beyond, and making it work.

What Can You Do?


Correct The Record

Please share these facts with friends and family who might inquire with you about the campaign, or with anyone else you think should know the truth.

Contact Your Representatives

If you are a Maimonides employee and/or live or work in Brooklyn, let your elected officials know how this misleading campaign makes you feel, and advocate for a more equitable model of healthcare funding distribution. Find who your representatives are at mygovnyc.org.

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