A total of 15 acute-care hospitals have closed around the state since 1997, including 11 in the northeastern counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Passaic, according to the New Jersey Hospital Association. Among the most recent are Barnert Hospital in Paterson, Pascack Valley in Westwood and Union Hospital. We have witnessed dramatic fall of Passaic hospitals with the last of the three in bankruptcy proceedings this year.
All of this happened under years of Democrat rule in New Jersey.
The Kaiser Family Foundation, a national foundation committed to sound health policy, ranks New Jersey 50th — second lowest in the nation — in terms of healthcare expenditures to hospitals. And Public Citizen, a national consumer watchdog group, ranked New Jersey’s Medicaid program 39th out of the 50 states, largely due to its poor reimbursement to providers. New Jersey, in fact, ranked dead last in reimbursement, according to the Public Citizen analysis. Other groups have witnessed New Jersey’s difficulties and responded. Standard & Poor’s, a major Wall Street ratings group, has downgraded the credit rating of many New Jersey hospitals and predicts that the state will experience additional hospital closures due to its harsh marketplace.
Major problem causing hospital closing is not enough funding for charity care. Presently, all hospitals receive at least 50 cents back for every $1 of charity care they provide. Those “safety net” hospitals that serve most of New Jersey’s uninsured population must receive at least 96 cents to ensure their ability to continue serving patients. We estimate that at least 50 percent of the charity care is used by illegal aliens using the emergency rooms in our hospitals.
As a result the unfunded mandates on hospitals effectively ask them to provide uninsured individuals with the catastrophic health insurance they are free not to procure, at the expense of insured patients and, in the case of investor-owned hospitals, of shareholders as well.
In 1995, New Jersey had 112 acute care hospitals. As of 2008, there were 75 hospitals remaining with half of them losing money. Read the rest of this entry »