TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Senator Paul Sarlo and Senator Bob Gordon to create a county hospital authority to oversee the Bergen County Regional Medical Center is now law.
“This facility must be able to appropriately serve the needs of our region and the state. This new law allows an 11-member board to provide oversight of the hospital and ensure it is meeting the needs of our residents,” said Senator Weinberg. “It will give a county hospital authority the ability to manage and oversee the hospital in a responsible way to better ensure its effective operation. I am pleased that the governor acted swiftly on this legislation, given the timeliness of this issue.”
“Establishing a county-level authority with the ability to provide oversight of the hospital is the best way to ensure the facility is operating safely and is able to meet the needs of those in its care,” said Senator Sarlo. “It will provide for stronger and more direct oversight of the medical center, which is crucial not only for the immediate future but for the facility’s long-term success.”
“This law will allow a county hospital authority to assume the responsibility for the operation of the Bergen County Regional Medical Center. We are confident that this kind of structure will allow for the protection of the integrity of the facility’s operations and ensure proper safeguards are in place,” said Senator Gordon. “This allows for the oversight that is needed to make sure that both patients and employees are safe and cared for in the way they should be.”
The law (S-2361) allows the governing body of a county that owns a county hospital to create by ordinance a “County Hospital Authority” to oversee the management and operation of a county hospital. Management contracts could be entered into for a 20-year term, and could be renewed for two additional periods not to exceed five years each,
The local hospital authority would be governed by an 11-member board with the membership as follows:
- the chief executive officer of the county;
- two members appointed by the medical staff executive committee of the hospital;
- six public members, four of whom shall be residents of the county. Five members would be appointed by the chief executive officer of the county with the advice and consent of the freeholder board; one public member would be appointed by the governor and would be a physician licensed to practice medicine and surgery in the state. At least two of the public member appointments shall have special expertise as follows: one with extensive expertise in finance and one with extensive expertise in organizational management.
- two nonvoting members appointed by the commissioner of the state Department of Community Affairs.
The law authorizes a county hospital authority to enter into a public-private partnership agreement with a private entity to undertake certain types of projects to benefit a county hospital.
The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 31-3. The Assembly approved it 68-5-2. The governor signed the bill into law today. It takes effect immediately.