GNYHA emerged from New York’s earliest days of organized health care advocacy. In the late 1800s, New York City health care consisted primarily of voluntary hospitals run by charitable lay boards, religious institutions, and public hospitals, which served as almshouses offering food, shelter, and basic care to the neediest City residents. Hospitals depended heavily on charitable contributions to support these services.
The Hospital Saturday and Sunday Association (which would later become the United Hospital Fund) formed in 1879 to collect charitable donations at church and synagogue services to fund hospital care of indigent patients. By the turn of the century, the Hospital Saturday and Sunday Association recorded collections of nearly $1.2 million for the benefit of the City’s hospitals.
In 1904, the Hospital Saturday and Sunday Association decided to offer its finance and accounting expertise to hospital administrators to help them enhance hospital efficiency while reducing costs. As a first step, the Association organized a series of conferences at which hospital representatives would share information about the salaries of various hospital employees, cost of supplies, hospital administration, and bookkeeping.
That same year, 41 members of the Hospital Saturday and Sunday Association formed the first of these conferences, called the Hospital Conference of New York. The Hospital Conference of New York later became Greater New York Hospital Association, an advocacy group for nonprofit hospital superintendents in New York City—and the second hospital trade association in the United States.
Today, GNYHA represents nearly 300 not-for-profit and public hospitals and continuing care facilities in the metropolitan New York area and throughout the State, as well as in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, and continues in the tradition of helping its members enhance efficiency while providing the highest quality care to those in need.
Source: Joseph Hirsh, Saturday, Sunday and Everyday: The History of the United Hospital Fund of New York (New York: United Hospital Fund, 1954).