TRENTON – Senator Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen, Essex and Passaic, today said he favored a major restructuring of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey because he believes the combined teaching hospital and medical school complex has grown too large to be effective.
“Now that the scandals are being dealt with effectively, it’s time to focus on ensuring excellence in the teaching standards for the students and in the treatment of patients served by UMDNJ,” said Senator Sarlo, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Senator Sarlo said he is drafting legislation to separate University Hospital in Newark from the teaching component of UMDNJ which he believes would be appropriate to place under the jurisdiction of Rutgers University.
“University Hospital should exist as a separate entity from UMDNJ,” Senator Sarlo said. “We need to restructure the entire UMDNJ system because a public institution of that size has become too massive a bureaucracy.”
Senator Sarlo, also a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, said he hoped to finish work on his proposed legislation when the Senate breaks next month for budget deliberations.
Senator Sarlo, who voted in the Senate Judiciary Committee to approve the nomination of Robert Del Tufo to be a new member of UMDNJ Board of Trustees, also said he fully supported S-1221, the measure sponsored by Senators Ronald Rice and Shirley Turner, to expand the UMDNJ Board of Trustees from 11 to 23.
“I just think the time has come to restructure the way UMDNJ works to serve the public with over $1.5 billion a year in program spending,” Senator Sarlo said.
“While the size of UMDNJ has continued to expand, the reality is that some of its teaching facilities exist as colleges only on paper,” Senator Sarlo said. “At its College of Nursing, for example, I am told that students from the northern part of the State attend Ramapo University while its nursing students from the southern part of the State go to Rowan University.”
Senator Sarlo said the UMDNJ medical school affiliations involve Cooper Hospital in Camden, Robert Wood Johnson in New Brunswick, and University Hospital in Newark.
“The entire makeup of what UMDNJ has come to stand for is just too spread out,” Senator Sarlo said. “It’s time to bring everything into focus.”