Turner/Watson Coleman/Gusciora Statement On The Pending Move Of Capital Health System At Mercer

TRENTON – Senator Shirley K. Turner, Assembly Majority Leader Bonnie Watson Coleman and Assemblyman Reed Gusciora today expressed their “deep disappointment” with the decision by the Department of Health and Senior Services to permit Capital Health System at Mercer to move from Trenton to Lawrence.

“The relocation of Capital Health System at Mercer to Lawrence will most certainly come at the loss of the residents of Trenton,” said Senator Turner. “Our Trenton community needs better access to health care, but instead they are left holding the short straw.”

“The loss of a hospital is a tremendous concern to any community, but especially Trenton where many residents are at risk,” said Assemblyman Gusciora, D-Mercer. “This leaves a tremendous void in the city, both in a medical sense and an economic sense. It’s a void that Trenton can’t afford.”

Assemblywoman Watson Coleman said: “This decision is inconsistent with the Governor’s stated goal of improving the delivery of health care in urban areas. This decision will leave more than just another vacant building in Trenton, but also a hole in an urban health care. It is shameful that those most in need of accessible health care are once again being pushed to the fringes.”

The certificate of need approved by the Department would allow the hospital to move from its current location at 446 Bellevue Avenue in Trenton to a new site on Princess Road in Lawrence, almost six miles away.

“Six miles may not seem like much to most people, but it can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency. For those struggling to make ends meet, it can mean the difference between visiting a loved one every day or visiting them once a week. For workers who rely on public transportation, it will make it difficult to get to work. It will have a significant impact,” explained Senator Turner.

“We’ll continue to monitor the health care situation in Trenton to ensure there is adequate support for those who need it most – seniors and children. And we will take action if our concerns are proven to be correct,” added Assemblyman Gusciora.

At a public meeting held in May on the hospital’s application to move the hospital out of Trenton with over three hundred attendees, two-thirds of those who spoke about the application expressed their opposition to the move.

“There was overwhelming opposition from the community for this move. They know the vital role this hospital plays and what its loss will mean to them. It’s disheartening to know that their views were ignored in the decision,” said Assemblywoman Watson Coleman.