Many New Yorkers were stunned when Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced that the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, which runs public hospitals in the city, rather than the legendary New York City Health Department, would take the lead on testing and contact tracing as the city attempts to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It makes absolutely no sense to move a function that has been done well by a great health department for decades to an organization that does not have the legal, epidemiologic, administrative or technical experience to manage it,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, a former city health commissioner and former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Perhaps Mayor DeBlasio knows something that the Times and Dr. Frieden do not. That when measured per $1,000 of the personal income of all city residents, the Department of Health doesn’t have as much funding as it did back when former Mayor Bloomberg was nagging us about our health. That is one of the findings of an analysis of state and local government Health, Hospitals and Medicaid Vendor Payment expenditures, and the jointly funded federal and state (and in NY local) government Medicaid program that is used to pay for most of them.