BY CAROL MCILMURRAY
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has given away $230.5 million to Hudson Valley healthcare facilities, with over $25 million of those dollars landing in the pockets of building developers for the new Crystal Run Healthcare facilities in West Nyack and Monroe.
“Crystal Run Healthcare is a very profitable private practice run by doctors. Do they need to receive taxpayer dollars for their new building?” said Dr. Eric Roffman, president of Rockland Medical Society. Crystal Run is a 350-physician practice with 50 different specialties located in Sullivan, Orange, and Rockland counties.
Only two other Rockland healthcare providers received the healthcare grant money, Nyack Hospital got $17.7 million and L’Refuah Health Center Inc., was given $3.5 million. Unlike Crystal Run Healthcare LLC, both Nyack Hospital and L’Refuah provide healthcare to patients in need regardless of the patient’s ability to pay.
In 2012, Crystal Run gave $80,000 to Andrew Cuomo’s 2014 successful gubernatorial campaign, placing them in Cuomo’s overall the top 20 contributors, outspending national companies such as NBC Universal, Anheuser-Busch and Citigroup Inc., according to non-profit, non-partisan research organization Vote Smart.
Crystal Run Healthcare LLC, received $13.1 million for the West Nyack building, and $12.3 million for the Monroe building, both are two-story 70,000 sq. foot private medical facilities. Crystal Run West Nyack is slated to open in August.
The West Nyack the property is in contract with County of Rockland Industrial Development Agency for tax abatements and incentives. The construction of the new buildings were bankrolled from Crystal Run’s $141-million sale and leaseback of 6 buildings in Middletown and Rock Hill, NY to Griffin-American, an unlisted real estate investment trust. Griffin-American paid Crystal Run $68 million cash for the Rock Hill building alone.
The state funds are apart of $7.3 billion Medicaid waiver from a 2014 agreement between New York and the federal government, with $1.5 billion earmarked for 162 New York healthcare providers. The vast majority- approx. 90 percent- of the statewide funding is dedicated to hospitals. New York and Texas are the only states of the six participating in the pilot program to allocate any taxpayer funds to non-hospital groups.
Nyack Hospital is to use the $17.7 million to build a 7,800 sq. foot “medical village” on their campus this fall. According to a press release by Nyack Hospital the “medical village” will house primary and specialty care providers, connect patients to outside community-based services, provide non-emergency transportation and help avoid unnecessary hospital admissions. L’Refuah is to use their 3.5 million for information technologies and to create a behavioral health unit and primary care area.
The grants are being made through the Capital Restructuring Financing Program and Essential Health Care Provider Support Program. Both were created by Governor Cuomo to support the goals of the Delivery System Reform Incentive Program (DSRIP), an organization whose main goal to reduce Medicaid spending.