New York Presbyterian Hospital (NYP) and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S) have been running the Family Medicine Residency Program to provide high-quality family care in upper Manhattan and Washington Heights which consists predominantly of working class families. They employ over 30 medical residents who have completed 4 years of premed and four years of medical school and are now seeking the experience of providing medical care for families. The residents offered high quality family care to a community that could not otherwise afford that kind of medical treatment.
Earlier this month, those 30 plus residents were all gathered into a room and told that they were being fired. The announcement was made by the CEO or NYP and Dean of P&S. As most of the residents sat stone faced and in shock, one female resident wept as her dream of being a family care physician in New York City was being dashed to pieces.
The decision to close the program was not due to financial hardship on the part of the NYP. In fiscal 2014, they reported a net profit of over $365 million, which is pretty good for a not-for-profit organization. Being a not-for-profit organization, NYP is supposed to reinvest the profit back into the hospital.
In making their announcement to the resident physicians, NYP and P&S said that running the Family Medicine Residency Program was no longer part of their overall strategic plan. Instead, they are planning on using their profit and the funding that went to the Residency Program to expand their ambulatory clinics in wealthier areas of the state like Westchester. Additionally, the hospital and college are also focusing more of their resources to subspecialty care that provides a higher margin of profit.
The decision not only means that the residents are out of work; it also means that many families in the area are suddenly left without their primary care doctors and services. This isn’t going to be as easy as it sounds since a number of the families in this working class district are on Medicaid. More and more doctors are refusing to treat Medicaid patients because the government does not reimburse them for all of the costs as promised.
The public uproar was so great that NYP and P&S reversed their decision and announced that they would keep the family care center open and would even accept new residents for the next academic year. However, they didn’t say how much longer the Residency Program would exist or the family care centers remain open.
The underlying issue is that more medical institutions are doing the same thing that NYP and P&S tried to do. They are abandoning care for middle and lower class people in favor of the wealthier and the more lucrative class. Thanks to Obama and his flagship program, doctors, medical clinics and hospitals are finding it far less profitable to treat common working Americans. While Obama expanded Medicaid to allow millions more Americans to enroll, fewer doctors and hospitals are willing to take on the growing number of Medicaid patients.
Obamacare is creating a healthcare system for the wealthy instead of for the rest of us as it was advertised to do. Obama continues to claim he’s working for the middle and lower classes of Americans but his actions say the exact opposite. The only redistribution of wealth that Obama really cares about is taking it from us and redistributing it to the already wealthy like himself.