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Healthcare Heroes 2020

Larry Levine

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Photo courtesy of Bylthdale Children’s Hospital

President & CEO, Blythedale Children’s Hospital

“Because medically fragile children represent such a small percentage of all hospitalized children, their needs are often highly misunderstood, thus leading to underrepresentation. That’s where our work begins.”

An internship with the late Senator Ted Kennedy is what inspired Larry Levine’s dedication to serving disadvantaged populations.

“Kennedy’s advocacy for people who didn’t have a voice still rings true for me today. That experience is what formed my progressive policies on how people should be cared for,” says Larry Levine.

 In the 19 years Levine has spent at the helm of Blythedale Children’s Hospital, he’s served as a tireless advocate for patients and their families. As New York’s only independent, specialty children’s hospital, Blythedale plays a unique role in providing care for those with complex medical illnesses and disabling conditions. These include complications due to premature birth, traumatic brain injury, cancer and pre- and post-transplant, and complex genetic and neurological disorders.

 Many of Blythedale’s patients come from impoverished families. In fact, 74% of those hospitalized at Blythedale receive Medicaid benefits.

“Medicaid is still relatively misunderstood, even by policymakers,” says Levine. “For example, 50 percent of New York State enrollees are children, yet children represent only 20 percent of the expenditure. So, my job is ultimately to protect the integrity of Medicaid and ensure the growth and development of Blythedale, so people understand its importance to children who are medically complex.”

Levine’s other contributions include the opening of a 24-bed pediatric long-term-care pavilion, an 86-bed inpatient hospital, a legal clinic that offers free, on-site services to low-income patients, and the creation of the Assistive Technology Program, which provides augmentative communication devices that give children a voice or power wheelchairs controlled by the subtle movement of a child’s head.