During this time of year, there are often lots of conversations, legislative visits, SUNY activity, and public media about the issues of the SUNY and University Hospital budgets. As many of you know, from my own recent interviews and conversations, the SUNY Chancellor has asked for additional funding to be placed in the state budget for University Hospital. SUNY has asked for restoration of our base support back to at least what it was in the current fiscal year. They have also asked for “stabilization funds” for Upstate Hospital. As I have remarked in a recent interview, being a state institution, University Hospital incurs additional labor costs due to contractual negotiation outside the control of the hospital leadership. We have asked for funds to cover more of these costs, to ensure the long-term vitality of University Hospital.
While we often focus on the need to have a strong University Hospital, simply from the perspective of good patient care for the region, there is also another very important reason for University Hospital to exist and remain strong. University Hospital is the teaching laboratory for our College of Medicine. The College of Medicine has been responsible for the education of many of the physicians who practice in and around Central New York.
We are reminded of this important role in recent data from the Association of American Medical Colleges. This data shows the medical schools in New York State, the applications to each medical school for the Class 2016, and the percentage of students accepted at each medical school who are New York State residents. SUNY Upstate is at the top of the list with nearly 80% or our enrolling class being New York State students. This is important when we consider the ongoing physician shortage in New York State, as pointed out recently in the HANYS report. Students from New York State, who train in New York State, are more likely to remain and practice in New York State. Therefore, medical schools like SUNY Upstate play a central role in ensuring the workforce for future care needs of New York State citizens. In order to do this, the state needs strong public hospitals in which such students can train.
We are proud of our ability to attract New York State students. Certainly this is part of our public mission. The hospital serves as a vital partner with the College of Medicine. For this reason, above and beyond, the care needs of citizens in Central New York, University Hospital must continue to exist long-term in a sustainable and viable manner.