ABLANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — Upstate hospitals will be getting a financial boost in the amount of one billion dollars every year. Hospitals will use the money as they see best fit.

“Better health care, addressing the doctor and nurse shortage, which we’ve seen so much for, smoother operations, decreased weight times, more telemedicine, so much more. It’s just great news,” said State Senator Chuck Schumer at a press event on Wednesday.

Schumer said for years upstate New York has struggled with low Medicare reimbursement, making it difficult for hospitals to pay higher wages, hire new employees and retain staff. Some employees even moving out of state to take up health care positions that pay more. “This is gonna mean more jobs for upstate New York and more health care, better health care for upstate New York,” she said.

Gary Fitzgerald, President of the Iroquois Health Care Association said, this is something advocates have been working on for 15 years. He said the wage index for upstate New York was not appropriate compared to other parts of the country. “So hospitals, during the pandemic and certainly after, come out of the pandemic, really had significant losses, and so this will help stem the losses and help stop the closing of services. Hopefully this influx of cash will help hospitals to make ends meet,” he said.

Here is how the money will be divided:

  • Capital Region: $192M
  • Southern Tier: $111M
  • Western NY: $170M
  • Finger Lakes & Rochester: $242M
  • Central NY: $121M
  • North Country: $41M
  • Mohawk Valley: $87M

The hospitals should start receiving the money by October.