Two days after a New York Times article detailed the plight of the poor, a South Side hospital is facing an urgent shortage of doctors.
Two of the hospitals in the city’s most heavily trafficked area are facing critical shortages, according to the medical director of the South Side Medical Care Alliance.
“This is the most acute medical care shortage we’ve ever seen,” Dr. Paul Kopp said in an interview with the Star-Ledger on Wednesday.
The shortage of specialists in the South Bronx is causing doctors to leave the area to seek better-paying jobs in other parts of the country.
South Side hospitals are among the most heavily regulated in the United States, and Kopp is among the doctors who are left with no other choice than to leave their community.
He said the shortage of specialized doctors in the region has left patients without a doctor to take their medicine, which in turn has led to increased mortality and increased hospitalizations.
The South Bronx’s most vulnerable residents, like the elderly, the mentally ill and the poor are often the ones most affected by this shortage, Kopp told the Star Ledger.
The lack of specialists is especially troubling in South Bronx hospitals that are also in the center of the epidemic, like Mount Sinai, which recently announced it would close two of its nine operating rooms.
The city has seen a dramatic rise in the number of deaths due to opioid overdose in recent months.
The state of New York has already approved $1.3 billion in new opioid funding, but a shortage of primary care doctors has been an issue for years.
In 2015, the city began requiring hospitals to hire more doctors to fill their ranks.
But as of July, the number has dropped to 1,788, according the New York State Health Department.
The New York City Health Department said in a statement that the lack of primary-care doctors in hospitals is partly due to the fact that they are not trained to handle the chronic diseases of the elderly and people with disabilities.
The crisis of primary health care in the Bronx is especially acute, as more than 1,400 patients are being treated each day at the Bronx’s six hospitals alone.
The mayor’s office said on Wednesday that more than 40 percent of those patients are not being treated because they are unable to afford to pay the bills.
That’s a rate that’s nearly three times the national average.
The health department said that in 2015, more than 9,000 patients were admitted to the hospital due to conditions that include high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, heart conditions, cancer and mental illness.
The hospitals that lack specialists face a shortage that Kopp blames on a lack of funding.
He cited the fact the city has not spent money to increase the number or size of primary doctors in its hospitals in recent years.
“They’ve just taken the money from the taxpayers and used it on the insurance companies,” Kopp explained.
“We’re just seeing a huge, massive increase in our uninsured patients.”
The health care crisis has hit New York’s health system hard, and it’s one of the reasons the state is considering the death penalty.
Last month, the state’s governor vetoed legislation that would have abolished the death sentence in New York.
“It was an attempt to make the state more responsive to the needs of the community,” said state Sen. Barbara Buono, a Democrat from the Bronx.
She said that’s why the governor vetoed the bill, saying it would have hurt the people of New Yorkers and New Yorkers’ health care.
Buono said she supports abolishing the death row, and has said that she wants to abolish capital punishment entirely.
However, the governor’s veto message may not be enough to stem the tide of people leaving the city to seek medical care.
Kopp and others are calling for more funding for primary care, and for state lawmakers to support funding to increase its size.
The Democratic governor has proposed to increase state health spending by $2.9 billion over five years.
But that’s not enough to address the crisis, Koff said.
“If the governor wants to put his money where his mouth is and he wants to say that this is the way to go, well, I’m not going to let him,” Kapp said.