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/ February 4, 2013
NYU Langone Reopens With Tension

Not everyone knows how hard NYU’s Langone Medical Center worked in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. More than 6,000 patients were forced to leave their hospital beds during the storm, and the back-up power generator went out at NYU Langone, forcing evacuation.

While now most of NYU Langone is back up and running, Sandy cost NYU $1.2 billion. WNYC reported that though funding from FEMA, the National Institutes of Health and NYU’s insurance policies should help recover between the next two to five years. The question still looms whether NYU will lose some of the patients and staff who sought refuge at Beth Israel or Mount Sinai. Around 500 NYU doctors left for other hospitals during the storm–and most have returned–but more than a dozen have applied for permanent privileges at other hospitals.

Senior Vice President at Langone, Dr. Andrew Brotman said he’s not concerned about the shift, but that while NYU Langone was “extremely appreciative” of the warm welcome its staff received at other hospitals, NYU’s loss was in some ways its competitors’ gain as other hospitals charted spikes in their monthly birth rates during November and December.

NYU doctors were able to bill insurers directly for their services and some competitors helped fund the salaries of those who left during the storm. But doctor bills make up about 10 to 12 percent of hospital fees for a test or procedure. The rest of the money went to other hospitals. The New York State Health Foundation, said the important question is not whether hospitals return to pre-Sandy conditions, but whether they should. But, Brotman countered this statement, arguing that other hospitals struggled to meet increased patient demand. Langone plans to take better precautionary measures, and hoping to complete a 71,000 square-foot, $250 million “energy building” by 2016.

Currently, most of NYU’s units are back up, and the census of patients is rebounding at NYU Langone, at about two-thirds of what it was before Sandy.

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