Post-Briefing Notes re: New Healthcare Commission

November 2, 2023

The Governor’s Office briefing I described this morning (and attended just now) has ended.  The briefing brought together association leaders and others who represent providers from across the healthcare service delivery system.

Angela Profeta, the Governor’s Deputy Secretary for Health described the new Commission as advisory in nature.  The Commission will be charged with making recommendations to the Governor regarding what New York needs to do to address problems that already impact our care delivery system but that will increase over the next 5-10 years, to include ever increasing Medicaid costs for the state, delivery systems that are overwhelmed with waiting lists, workforce challenges, an aging population, and other demographic changes that our healthcare system will need to be ready to address as time goes on.

According to Ms. Profeta, the Commission will not look at individual institutions as was the case during the Berger Commission days when hospitals faced closures based on recommendations of that Group.  We were told that the Commission does not have ‘budget targets’ or savings amounts it must come up with as it takes on various issues.  Instead, the recommendations will serve as supplemental information for the Administration as it continues to execute on NYS healthcare delivery system reform.

The overarching mission of the Commission is to “Ensure that the limited resources of the State and other healthcare payers are optimized to enable the delivery of accessible, equitable, high-quality care for all New Yorkers, through a resilient healthcare ecosystem and a strong healthcare workforce.”  It will be focused on the full continuum of care – including physical and behavioral health across levels of acuity for all populations.

The first set of recommendations from the new Commission will inform the 2025 State of the State Address and preparation of the subsequent FY 26 executive budget.  The Commission will take on topics a few at a time, and there will be a stakeholder involvement process based on the specific topic at hand.  There will be opportunities for stakeholder feedback.  The first meeting of the Commission is set for later today.

As always, the NYS Council will push hard on the Commission to recognize and prescribe useful solutions to the issues facing the individuals we serve and the agencies that care for them to include waiting lists, a depleted workforce that is overwhelmed by the vastness of the problems we continue to manage, and the reality that, at the present time, we cannot guarantee culturally competent care or meet increased demand due to inadequate reimbursement rates that render us unable to recruit and retain the workforce we need and that individuals and families with mental health and substance use disorder conditions deserve.