State prescribes tough medicine

The Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century is chaired by Stephen Berger, former state Social Services commissioner, and is a broad-based, nonpartisan panel created by Pataki and the state Legislature to review health-care capacity and resources in the state.

In developing its recommendations, the commission-reviewed data concerning each hospital and nursing home within the state, conducted nearly 20 public hearings statewide and held meetings with stakeholders representing all sectors of the health-care industry.

"The commission's recommen-dations are fair, responsible and distributed equitably across the state. Affected facilities may complain, but pointing a finger and saying excess capacity is someone else's problem is inadequate," said Berger. "The opportunity for change is real, and the money needed to achieve it is available. We cannot afford to squander either."

The Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law for New Yorkers allocated $1 billion to fund restructuring and closing costs in addition to $1.5 billion for similar purposes promised from the federal government.""

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