Carthage Hospital Workers Protest Medicaid Cuts

Carthage Hospital Workers Protest Medicaid Cuts

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At 2 p.m. Tuesday, health care workers at Carthage Area Hospital left their stations for a few minutes and walked to a lobby to send a message to Albany.

"Show what it would be like without all these people working at the hospital, because it could certainly result in job cuts if we don't get the funding restored," said Kathy Tucker, north country vice president and area director of Local 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East Union. 

Local 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East Union says Governor Cuomo proposed Medicaid cuts of $1.3 billion in his budget and the union is fighting it. The union organized the walkout, where employees signed a poster that will be taken to a rally in Albany later this month. They also were encouraged to call local representatives on the state Legislature to ask them to restore the cuts.

Carthage Area Hospital management supported the symbolic move.  The union says the hospital would lose more than $277,000 Medicaid dollars over two years if the budget cuts were enacted.

"Jobs are going to be cut, services are going to be cut. We have very good services here and without that you're not going to have the services available," said Lori Everard, dietetic assistant. 

Union leaders say the cuts would hurt all hospitals and nursing homes and could mean closures for smaller facilities.

"Sometimes you won't have a nursing home or a hospital if these cuts go through so it's very scary," said Tucker.

There are also Medicaid cuts that ambulance service officials say will hurt their squads. Guilfoyle Ambulance sent two employees and a truck to a rally in Albany Tuesday with other ambulance and health care workers. 

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