Who is the Rochester Regional Healthcare Association

Rochester Regional Healthcare Association is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 association whose membership is comprised of sixteen hospitals and their related health systems in the eight counties of Monroe, Livingston, Ontario, Wayne, Seneca, Yates, Steuben, and Chemung. The Association works with various peer groups comprised of representatives from its membership to enhance their organizations' ability to meet the healthcare needs of their communities by sharing information and best practices. We accomplish this through a variety of peer group committees which meet bi-monthly or quarterly throughout the year. These meetings are only open to the membership. The Rochester Regional Healthcare Association works closely with the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) and the American Hospital Association (AHA), collaborating on many issues and activities.

RBJ Column

Loss of ACA provisions could jeopardize hospital operations

Many people don’t appreciate the role that hospitals play in our economy and our community. Did you know that the top two employers in the Rochester area are health systems? Forty years ago, manufacturing was a top employer in Rochester when Kodak, Bausch & Lomb, and Xerox were in their prime. However, over the past few decades, manufacturing jobs have been cut in half and now healthcare reigns supreme.

The University of Rochester/UR Medicine is now the largest employer in our region. Rochester Regional Health is the second largest employer. Combined, their health systems cover 11 hospitals in the Rochester area.

Local hospitals create jobs and economic security. For example, Strong Memorial Hospital generates $2.2 billion in economic activity and 16,000 jobs. Rochester General Hospital generates $1.5 billion in economic activity and 11,000 jobs. In addition, the goods and services that hospitals purchase from other businesses create a “ripple effect” in terms of spending for the Rochester economy.

But this trend is not unique in Western New York – it’s mirrored in neighboring cities. Kaleida Health is the top employer in Buffalo and Upstate University Health System is the top employer in Syracuse.

Why is this significant? Because hospitals are fueling the upstate New York economy. New York’s hospitals and health systems are responsible for $141 billion in economic activity annually—10% of the state’s entire Gross Domestic Product—and generate more than 770,000 jobs.

New York’s hospitals are also responsible for generating significant tax dollars for local government. For example, Strong Memorial Hospital and Rochester General Hospital generate $455 million in tax dollars.

Of course, hospitals are primarily known for the healthcare services they provide. Rochester General Hospital and Strong Memorial Hospital provide care to 2.6 million outpatients, treat 225,000 people in the emergency room, admit 67,000 people to the hospital and deliver 5,200 babies. In Rochester, if you or your loved ones need care, we are fortunate to have several quality hospitals to choose from.

Hospitals also provide benefits to the community. Adhering to their charitable mission, they regularly cover the cost of care provided to people in need. They subsidize care to low-income and elderly populations, and continuously invest in community health initiatives.

Therefore, hospitals have very small operating margins. A large portion of hospital reimbursement is tied to Medicaid and Medicare, which do not entirely cover the cost of care. Medicaid only pays 73 cents for each dollar of care and Medicare only pays 95 cents. Hospitals often come up short when their patients can’t afford to pay.

Proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act are contributing to this challenging environment. Under the Affordable Care Act, New York provided health insurance to uninsured individuals, and through the ACA, received substantial funding from the federal government. Now New Yorkers are at risk of losing their coverage, and the potential loss of federal dollars could result in significant cuts to the state budget.

Rochester Regional Healthcare Association is concerned that hospitals could be severely impacted if the federal government cuts funding to Medicaid. If the state loses millions of dollars, New York state legislators would be forced to make tough choices – either raise taxes or cut spending. However, hospitals are already under enough financial stress and cannot afford any more cuts.

We have entered a tremendously uncertain time. Rochester Regional Healthcare Association has been actively lobbying our state and federal representatives about the impact of repealing and replacing the ACA. The replacement legislation must be simultaneous and meaningful for hospitals and health systems.

We need to protect our hospitals, especially in the Rochester region. We can’t afford to put tens of thousands of jobs at risk. UR Medicine and Rochester Regional Health are the top employers in Rochester and the engines of our economy. Rochester Regional Healthcare Association remains committed to fighting on their behalf.

Press Release

Rochester Regional Healthcare Advocates Opposes American Healthcare Act (AHCA)

March 21, 2017 - Statement by Travis Heider, President and CEO of Rochester Regional Healthcare Advocates:

Rochester Regional Healthcare Advocates (RRHA) is opposed to the American Healthcare Act (AHCA) because it would significantly reduce health insurance coverage for millions of Americans, reduce federal funding for Medicaid, create a fiscal crisis for New York State and have a devastating financial impact on Rochester area hospitals and health systems.

  • The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the AHCA could eliminate health insurance for 24 million Americans; New York State projects that it could impact nearly one million New Yorkers.
  • The AHCA would create a fiscal crisis for New York State through a dramatic reduction of federal support for the state’s Medicaid program. Over four years, New York State would lose $4.6 billion and at least $2.4 billion a year by fiscal year 2020.
  • Additionally, RRHA is concerned about the recent proposal to shift Medicaid costs from New York’s counties to the state government. Instead of providing relief to taxpayers, New York State would be forced to raise taxes or make huge cuts in spending, which could put hospitals and their patients at risk.
  • Hospitals and health systems cannot sustain fewer insured patients in addition to funding cuts. Many healthcare providers in our region already have fragile financial situations that would be exacerbated by this legislation.
  • The top two employers in Rochester are the University of Rochester/UR Medicine and Rochester Regional Health. Hospitals in the Rochester area are responsible for 54,000 jobs and generate $7.1 billion in economic activity. We cannot afford to pass legislation that threatens our healthcare and our local economy.
  • RRHA urges the New York Congressional delegation to vote against the bill.

2016 Rochester Regional Healthcare Association Report Card

RRHA Headlines

Repealing the Affordable Care Act Could Cost Rochester Area Hospitals Up to $1.4 Billion

Rochester, NY (January 4, 2017) – The Rochester Regional Healthcare Advocates is opposed to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act without an immediate and meaningful replacement because it could be financially damaging to hospitals in the Rochester area and reduce access to coverage for thousands of New Yorkers. Congress is expected to start to address the issue today.

“We need to protect upstate New York hospitals from potentially damaging cuts,” said Travis Heider, President and CEO of Rochester Regional Healthcare Advocates. “Many hospitals in New York are already financially vulnerable. New York’s average hospital operating margin of 1.3 percent is the second worst in the nation, far below the national average of 6.4 percent. Repealing the Affordable Care Act without an immediate replacement would seriously harm many hospitals, including hospitals in the Greater Rochester area.”

In addition to providing needed care 24/7/365, Rochester hospitals are a major force in the local economy. Hospitals in the Greater Rochester Region deliver care to 6.4 million patients, generate over $7.2 billion dollars in economic activity, produce over $807 million in tax dollars for local economies, provide $469 million in care for the underserved and are responsible for more than 53,000 jobs.

According to the Healthcare Association of New York State, repeal of ACA would cost Greater Rochester Hospitals up to $1.4 billion over the next ten years.

“Hospitals and health systems across New York State are making strides in transforming care delivery to reduce costs while improving care quality. This transformation requires substantial investment, long-term commitment, reconfiguration of care delivery, and accepting risk and responsibility for healthcare in entire communities,” said Amy Pollard, President and CEO of UR Medicine/Noyes Health and Chair of the Rochester Regional Healthcare Advocates. “A repeal of the ACA without replacement would pull the rug out from under all of us.”

A repeal of ACA in whole or in part should only be pursued if replacement is simultaneous and meaningful: 

  • for patients in the form of affordable, robust, and continuous health coverage at least as expansive as under ACA
  • for the State of New York and its localities that jointly support Medicaid
  • for hospitals and health systems that need predictable and reasonable public and private coverage policies and payments to continue the transformation of the healthcare system, safeguarding access to care for all New Yorkers

“The Rochester Regional Healthcare Advocates stands with the Greater New York Hospital Association and Healthcare Association of New York and urges Washington to avoid actions that could compromise New York hospitals,” said Heider.

On Tuesday, Jan. 3, all three organizations released the following joint statement:

“The need to protect and strengthen New York hospitals has never been greater. Scores of hospitals across the state are financially vulnerable. Moreover, New York’s average hospital operating margin of 1.3 percent is the second worst in the nation, far below the national average of 6.4 percent. Repealing the Affordable Care Act without an immediate and meaningful replacement will worsen this situation. It will seriously harm upstate New York hospitals and the patients they serve. We urge Washington to avoid actions that could compromise access to care for all New Yorkers.”

For more information about RRHA’s position on this matter, contact Mary Beth Walker at 585.273.8186 or mwalker@seagatealliance.com.

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