CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Discusses Impact of Health Care Reform on American Medical Centers and Medical Innovation

Dr. Herbert Pardes calls for more doctors, attention to burdens of growing baby boomer and undocumented population and HHS action to ensure cost reductions do not impact care and research

Mar 31, 2011


Dr. Herbert Pardes, President and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, the nation's largest nonprofit, non-sectarian hospital, called for increased attention to health care reform efforts that may inadvertently damage the nation's academic medical centers, which provide the bulk of medical innovation and new life-saving techniques to patients across the country. His remarks were delivered in a Newsmaker Lecture Event at the National Press Club here today.

"In 2014, 32 million more Americans will have health insurance and will need access to care. At the same time, vast numbers of baby boomers are reaching retirement age, and facing the increased medical needs of old age—72 million of them by 2020. This growth will place unprecedented demands on the health care workforce," said Dr. Pardes. "The Association of American Medical Colleges projects a shortage of 130,000 physicians by 2025. It takes 10 years to train a new doctor. We need at least 6,000 to 8,000 new physicians annually on top of the 16,000 that are currently produced each year."

Dr. Pardes also noted that the three main themes of health reform — increasing access, improving quality, and reducing costs — are best addressed by academic medical centers, which are leaders in transforming medicine and well positioned to help lead the transformations that will occur because of health reform.

"The failure to cover the undocumented in our country will impose an ongoing burden for hospitals — estimated to be $6.4 billion in 2000 — and compromise some of the laudable goals of health reform," continued Dr. Pardes. "Academic centers take care of the largest number of the most vulnerable and neediest patients. Even though they constitute only 6% of all hospitals, academic medical centers provide 41% of the charity care, 28% of Medicaid and 22% of Medicare. Many academic medical centers, particularly those in urban areas, also provide care to undocumented people, who are not covered by health reform."

Dr. Pardes also warned against cost reductions that would potentially hurt academic medical centers that already bear a heavy burden.

"Health reform mandates $155 billion in Medicare cuts for hospitals over the next decade, $50 billion of that in reduced ‘dish' payments for uncompensated and charity care. These cuts were agreed to by hospitals to help fund the ACA. The expectation was that the expansion of coverage will offset that reduction. In some places that will be true. But it won't happen in states like New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania that had extensive Medicaid programs in place before ACA was passed. The expansion will benefit states that had very little Medicaid coverage. Academic medical centers already take care of a disproportionate share of Medicaid patients, so they will suffer the reductions without the benefit of the offsets. The secretary of HHS should undertake measures to guarantee that the financial equation actually works before imposing large "dish" reductions."

A complete copy of Dr. Pardes' remarks is available.

About Dr. Herbert Pardes

Dr. Pardes has served as dean of Columbia University's medical school, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, president of the American Psychiatric Association, and assistant U.S. surgeon general.

About NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation's largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,353 beds. The Hospital has nearly 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including more than 220,000 visits to its emergency departments — more than any other area hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation's leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

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