TROY, N.Y. – Assemblymember John T. McDonald III, RPh (AD108) and Mayor Wm. Patrick Madden (Troy) issued a joint letter to the New York State Department of Health Commissioner, Dr. James V. McDonald M.D., M.P.H., calling for additional opportunities for public input on the proposed closure of the Burdett Birthing Center.
The letter expresses deep concern that the community survey administered on behalf of Trinity Health and St. Peter’s Health Partners, was not adequately accessible, misleading and confusing in the wording of questions and answer options, and not available for a length of time that could credibly be claimed to have allowed for meaningful input from the community regarding the curtailment of services proposed by Trinity Health and St. Peter’s Health Partners.
The letter may be read in its entirety here.
Mayor Madden said, “During this first-of-its-kind health equity impact assessment, it is important for the state to establish precedent for what constitutes an appropriate standard for robust community engagement. I am not impressed with the way they have conducted this community survey, which is why Assemblymember McDonald and I are calling on the Department of Health to provide additional opportunities for families—especially those who will be most impacted by this proposed closure—to be consulted.”
Assemblymember John T. McDonald III, RPh said, "The Health Equity Assessment is central to assessing the impacts to the community as the NYS Department of Health considers the proposal by Trinity to close the Burdett Birth Center. I am extremely disappointed with the community survey process that has been undertaken by Trinity due to a number of factors explained in the letter that indicate the results of the assessment will not be a result of meaningful engagement with community members. I will continue to work to ensure that our community member's voices are heard in this process and thank Mayor Madden and all of the partners who continue to keep this issue at the forefront."
Assemblymember McDonald and Mayor Madden noted that the survey was not adequately publicized, contained technical errors that made it onerous to use, and lacked accountability.
“There must be additional opportunities for the public to provide input on this proposed closure plan, and we urge the Department of Health to engage with us to solicit this community input before the conclusion of the health equity impact assessment,” concludes the joint letter.