New York’s Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield has reportedly reached a compromise with health care unions and hospital administrators to move forward on plans to convert from a nonprofit to a profit making organization.
Empire’s directors have been seeking permission from the state to convert since 1996, but, according to the New York Times, opposition from Dennis Rivera, leader of the State’s largest health care union and, Kenneth E. Raske, president of the Greater New York Hospital Association, blocked the move. Both men expressed concerns that if Blue Cross/Blue Shield became a “for profit” company it would pay more attention to its share price than to doctors, patients and the poor.
As part of the compromise, Empire has agreed to set up a a charitable foundation to provide health care to the State’s poor, and in conjunction with its conversion request in the state legislature will lobby for half a billion dollars to be used to fund New York’s hospitals.
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