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Doria: State Needs To Hold Hospitals Harmless

TRENTON – Senator Joseph Doria today urged the Corzine administration to provide hospitals with “at least as much money as they got this year” in charity care aid.

“With so many of New Jersey’s hospitals facing dire financial straits in the upcoming year, this year’s budget can have long-lasting effects on the State’s ability to provide adequate health care to our residents,” said Senator Doria, D-Hudson.

Senator Doria called for a charity care funding formula that held hospitals harmless during today’s Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing with the Department of Health and Senior Services.

“We must do everything possible to help struggling hospitals stay afloat. It’s essential that this year’s charity care funding formula hold our hospitals harmless this year until the report by the Hospital Rationalization Commission determines which hospitals are of greatest importance in meeting the State’s health care needs,” explained Senator Doria.

Health and Senior Services Commissioner Fred Jacob said at today’s hearing that the final distribution of the $583 million in charity care funds has yet to be determined. The total amount in charity care is unchanged from FY07.

Senator Doria pointed to the concerns voiced by many of his constituents as to the future status of the hospitals in Hudson County

“I know that in Hudson County, we are especially sensitive to these financial hardships as five of our seven hospitals are struggling to make ends meet,” added Senator Doria. “We need to make sure that in the coming years, our residents have a close proximity to essential health care.”

Senator Doria also explained how State funding was only part of the solution to help struggling hospitals stay open and that the facilities themselves needed to undergo changes.

“Moving forward, we need to demand more accountability at our hospitals, ensuring that charity care dollars are being spent judiciously and that administrative salaries are kept in check,” said Senator Doria.

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