Greater New York Hospital Association President Kenneth Raske discusses the construction of a field hospital at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in March 2020. John Lamparski / NurPhoto via Alamy
While the nonprofit Greater New York Hospital Association lobbied, a lucrative for-profit arm may have run up costs for hospitals.
By Chris Bragg

Two-thirds of New York hospitals and health systems are losing money. To Kenneth Raske, president of the Greater New York Hospital Association, one clear reason is that while drug, supply, and labor costs have climbed, the state government’s hospital spending has not kept pace.

In Raske’s view, Albany should — and can afford to — spend billions more.

“You’re sitting on a mountain of cash,” Raske told members of the state legislature during a January budget hearing.

Raske didn’t mention that his organization is sitting on its own. Over the past decade, the for-profit medical and drug supply business that has run up hospitals’ bills has also brought immense earnings to Greater New York — supercharging what is arguably Albany’s most influential lobbying group.

Robert Mujica at one of Andrew Cuomo's daily briefings in September 2020. Lev Radin / Alamy
The former budget director's role may break a law meant to keep ex-state employees from monetizing insider knowledge.
By Chris Bragg

One of Albany’s most influential lobbying groups argues that New York can afford to ramp up health care spending — on the advice of an expert who would know.

Kenneth Raske, president of the Greater New York Hospital Association, said in a January interview that he was receiving counsel concerning the state budget from Robert Mujica, who served as New York’s top budget official under governors Andrew Cuomo and Kathy Hochul.

New York’s incarcerated population has been declining for decades. Why is it so hard for prison closures to keep pace? New York Focus contributor Eliza Fawcett shared the story with Radio Catskill.

The entrance to the Bellevue Hospital Administration Building at 27th Street and First Avenue. Beyond My Ken via Wikimedia Commons
In the New York City teachers union, anger over a plan to privatize retiree health care could send a longshot campaign over the edge.
By Sam Mellins

A group of dissident retired public school teachers is seeking to take over part of the New York City teachers union in an upcoming election — and they hope to galvanize opposition over a proposed change to retirees’ health care and turn it into votes this June.

Retirees fear that the proposed change — a shift from public Medicare to private Medicare Advantage plans — could leave them with higher costs and fewer benefits. It’s been a major source of controversy since New York Focus broke the news of the proposal nearly three years ago. Though the plan has been on ice since last year, when a court sided with retirees who sued to block it, it still looms large as the city pursues an appeal.

With fear and anger running high, a group of retired teachers known as Retiree Advocate hopes those feelings will propel its insurgent slate into leadership positions at the retiree chapter of the United Federation of Teachers. The teacher union is one of the foremost backers of the Medicare Advantage switch.


Do you feel you have a say in what happens in your local community? Do you feel informed about what’s going on? Take our survey.

Our database offers a glimpse into the most prominent problems plaguing county jails. See how your county is doing. Maia Hibbett
New York Focus has published thousands of pages of county jail oversight records. Browse them in our database.
By Chris Gelardi and Eliza Fawcett

Last year, New York Focus filed over 70 Freedom of Information Law requests for the reports scoc compiles when it inspects county jails, plus some related documents. We received thousands of pages of records. The documents, covering most of New York’s 62 counties, offer a first of its kind look into jail operations: procedures, problems, and state attempts — or failures — to address them.

We’re publishing all of those documents here. Our hope is that local journalists, advocates, researchers, watchdogs, and everyday citizens will use them to hold their county and state officials accountable. New York Focus has already used the documents to expose a half-baked plan to close a jail, reveal how sheriffs are sidestepping solitary confinement law, and illustrate the extent to which officials sweep incarcerated people’s official complaints under the rug.


Copyright © New York Focus 2023, All rights reserved.
Staying Focused is compiled and written by Alex Arriaga
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