Jersey City Medical Center EMT's and Paramedics better start looking for a new job.
Maybe the medics can pic up some part time work as coach drivers at Amb-U-Car.The pain will be unbearable if Gov. Jon Corzine's proposed $108 million cut in charity care funding for hospitals is adopted, according to Hudson County hospital officials.

This reduction - proposed in the 2009 budget that legislators are now reviewing - would hit the Jersey City Medical Center and Hoboken University Medical Center especially hard since both facilities treat a large number of uninsured and under-insured patients each day, the officials said.

Charity care coverage for JCMC would be slated to drop from an estimated $83.5 million in the 2008 fiscal year to $55.4 million in 2009, according to projections by the New Jersey Hospital Association.

Hoboken University Medical Center would be dealt a $4.5 million cut and receive $11.9 million next year, based on estimates of claims data that will be released in June.

The final numbers could change, but as things stand, programs would have to be cut, said John McKeegan, spokesman for LibertyHealth Systems Inc., which owns JCMC.

"The Jersey City Medical Center would not be able to essentially absorb these cuts," McKeegan said, noting two-thirds of the hospital's patients are uninsured or on Medicaid. "These are people in desperate need of services."

HUMC spokeswoman and state Assemblywoman Joan Quigley, a member of the Assembly's Health Committee, warned the effects could ripple from one hospital to another.

"I believe it would be foolish for the state government, which has already sunk so much money into (HUMC) to save it, to put it so close to the cliff," Quigley said. "If any one hospital closes, it could swamp the others."

Heather Howard, commissioner of the state Department of Health and Senior Services, has said the state is trying to break with past practice of "operating in a culture of crisis management...to a culture of strategic planning."

The state's new charity care formula puts hospitals in three tiers. The group with the most uninsured patients will get a 5 percent cut in funding, those in the middle will get an average reduction of 34 percent, and the hospitals that provide the least charity care will no longer be given any funding.

The formula would mean a cut of almost $591,000 at Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, to $3.4 million.

Christ Hospital and Bayonne Medical Center would see slight increases. Christ Hospital's funding will be raised by about $235,000 to $10.3 million, while BMC's will go up $310,000 to $4.3 million.

Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Secaucus, another LibertyHealth facility, has relatively few uninsured patients, but would get a $61,000 bump to almost $681,000.

The Assembly Budget Committee, on which Quigley also sits, will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget at Liberty Science Center on Wednesday at 9 a.m.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Interesting article.

I am gathering feedback on Saint Michael's Medical Center in Columbus, NJ and I am wondering if you wouldn't mind adding a link to my new Columbus Hospital review site.