Roswell Park Statement on State Budget Proposal

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Statement from Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) with respect to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Budget Proposal:

In the Executive Budget released yesterday by Governor Cuomo, flat state support was recommended. In addition, capital funding that was eliminated from Roswell Park’s state aid last year has been brought back: “up to $25 million in existing HEAL funding will be available to Roswell Park, bringing total State support to over $100 million. However, future funding is conditioned on Roswell expanding its collaboration in the Buffalo region and restructuring to allow a transition from State support by March 31, 2014.”

In 1988, Roswell Park initiated discussions with New York State, seeking greater flexibility, and Phase I of this reorganization began with the creation of the RPCI public benefit corporation in 1997. The public benefit corporation, while it was a compromise, has been a great success, resulting in a 5-to-1 return on the state’s investment, reducing reliance on New York State, creating 1,000 new jobs, nine new spinoff companies, a threefold increase in clinical revenues and doubling of research funding. The research conducted at Roswell Park over the last decade has resulted in new treatments and prevention techniques that have improved quality of life and increased survival rates for cancer patients.

We are energized by the opportunity to further refine the organizational structure of Roswell Park Cancer Institute. However, there are concerns about the proposed legislative language in its failure to recognize the complexities of state-imposed costs and mandates, the abbreviated timeframe proposed for transition, the need for ongoing research funding streams and the restrictive nature of the potential reconfiguration.

There are only 40 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States, and while New York State is home to three such centers, Roswell Park is the only one located outside of New York City — in upstate New York.

We know that the State recognizes the importance of the NCI designation, the integral role of research and education in the continued growth of the Institute and the superior clinical cancer care delivered at Roswell Park. We look forward to working with the Governor, the Commissioner of Health, other state officials, the Legislature and community leaders to solidify the future of the nation’s first cancer center.
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The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. RPCI, founded in 1898, was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit RPCI’s website at http://www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email askrpci@roswellpark.org.

Media Contact: 

Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager
716-845-8593; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org