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LOCAL HOSPITALS, RESIDENTS WILL BENEFIT FROM HCRA

The Health Care Reform Act of 2000 is vitally important to the local economy and the survival of the Catholic Health System. A recent National Public Radio report said that Catholic health systems are the most efficiently managed and highest quality care facilities in the nation.

In my Assembly district alone, we are fortunate to be served by both Mercy Hospital and Our Lady of Victory Hospital. These institutions are completing a very difficult consolidation that will expand services and increase employment in this area. These two institutions, and their ancillary facilities, employ about 2,200 people, including 1,400 full-time and 800 part-time employees.

HCRA 2000 will strengthen these institutions and help make their consolidation work by expanding health-care coverage to the uninsured and extending coverage for child and adult mental-health services.

HCRA will help secure the financial viability of Mercy Hospital and OLV under this consolidated structure. Without it, one or both of these facilities would surely close. Thousands of jobs would be lost and health-care access would be seriously eroded. Thus, HCRA 2000 is very good news for my district, from both an employment and a health-care perspective.

BRIAN M. HIGGINS

D-Buffalo