The city's cash-strapped public hospital system will have to bring in hundreds of thousands more patients to overcome its dire financial troubles, Health and Hospitals Corp. President Ram Raju said Tuesday.
In a speech to hundreds of hospital workers, Raju pledged to increase the number of patients using the system’s 11 hospitals and other facilities to 2 million annually by 2020 from the current 1.4 million. And he said the hospitals corporation would double the number of people enrolled in its MetroPlus health insurance plan to 1 million during the same period.
The hospital system has been bleeding cash for years, and faces a $753 million deficit next year, which will balloon to $1.5 billion by 2019.
And because of Obamacare, the agency faces deep cuts to federal aid traditionally funneled to hospitals that care for large numbers of uninsured patients. Under that law, the Health and Hospitals Corp. expects to lose $180 million in 2017, and a total of $3 billion by 2024.
At the same time, hospital officials expect they’ll still have to care for many people who can’t get insurance despite Obamacare, particularly undocumented immigrants.
Bringing in more patients who have insurance or can pay for care will help offset those cuts, Raju said.