Vitale – Comments By Meadowlands Hospital Owners Further Proof Independent Monitor Needed

SECAUCUS – State Senator Joseph F. Vitale, vice-chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee said today he was disappointed by the combative remarks of Meadowlands Hospital owner Dr. Richard Lipsky, who referred to the hospital’s health care union as “a malignant, cancerous organization,” and blamed reported problems at the health care facility on sabotage, either by the previous owners or current workers.

“Dr. Lipsky’s remarks are further evidence that he is unwilling to admit his leadership’s failures to accept their responsibility in the violations recently uncovered at their facility”, said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex. “I’ve written a letter to the State Department of Health requesting that an independent monitor – paid for at the hospital’s expense – be sent to Meadowlands Hospital to resolve questions about the quality of care and operations at the hospital. I think that this most recent outburst from the owner of the hospital further underlines the need for an independent voice of reason at the facility.”

Senator Vitale said that a recent 25-page report prepared by the Department of Health and Senior Services outlined a number of serious problems and deficiencies at Meadowlands Hospital, which transferred ownership to private owners late last year. In a recent interview with The Secaucus Reporter, Dr. Lipsky accused the hospital health care workers union of sabotaging the facility before the Department’s review, and placed the blame for other problems at the facility on previous owners, LibertyHealth systems.

“The sale of Meadowlands Hospital was monitored by the State, and beyond Dr. Lipsky’s current casting off of blame, no allegations of impropriety by LibertyHealth exist,” said Senator Vitale. “I would have more respect for Dr. Lipsky and the current owners at Meadowlands Hospital if they owned up to their mistakes and took full responsibility, rather than point fingers and blame others.”

Senator Vitale said that Dr. Lipsky and the current owners of Meadowlands Hospital have a responsibility to work with the State to address concerns and improve the quality of care at the facility.

“In this country, when you take on the responsibility of running a hospital – be it for-profit, not-for-profit or State-owned – you’re engaging in a social contract with the community you serve that the services provided will be up to accepted standards of excellence. A hospital license is a privilege, not a right”, said Senator Vitale. “Dr. Lipsky and the other hospital owners knew what they were getting when they purchased Meadowlands Hospital, and the problems that were uncovered by the Department of Health review were systemic, not a one-time-only occurrence. It’s time to conduct a full, independent review of operations at Meadowlands Hospital to get the facility back on the right track to serving the health care needs of its community in a manner that is safe and professional.”