One interesting sidebar to the story of the Berger Commission’s recommendations is the amount of lobbying that actually went on behind the scenes.
The president and CEO of one Brooklyn hospital had the following take:
“Everybody knows somebody that’s either on the commission or has influence enough in Albany. Everybody has their own lobbyist and people that they know that they can utilize to pressure people.”
As I noted earlier, some places like Victory Memorial unloaded a lot of money into hiring well-connected lobbyists to deal with the legislature.
Another, Episcopal Health Services, Inc., hired a firm to lobby the commission directly at a price of $5,000 a month. The commission wound up recommending that one of the group’s hospitals, St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, be merged with another one nearby.
Better than closing, right?
— Azi Paybarah