22 10 2009

The Corzine administration and Democrat leadership that claim to care for New Jersey health care system has failed New Jersey hospitals.

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 »


Official: Hospital report will ‘drive improvement’

16 10 2009

NEWARK, N.J. – Hospital experts say scrutiny breeds excellence.

If that’s true, Bayonne Medical Center and St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic are poised for greatness because New Jersey’s 2009 Hospital Performance Report identified major weaknesses at the facilities. Bayonne received the lowest score in the heart failure category among the 73 hospitals scrutinized while St. Mary’s ranked last in surgical care and next-to-last in heart failure.

The sixth annual report released Wednesday measures hospital performance in four treatment categories: heart attack, pneumonia, surgical care and heart failure. Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville and AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City were the top performers.

“This is really good stuff because you can’t manage what you can’t see,” said Dave Knowlton, president of the nonprofit New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute. “Everyone starts to improve when you put the spotlight on them.”

Heather Howard, commissioner of the state Department of Health and Senior Services, said New Jersey hospitals have improved their performance dramatically since the state’s first hospital performance report in 2004. They had a median score of 97 percent for providing recommended heart attack treatment, compared with 90 percent in 2004. The median score for providing recommended pneumonia treatment was 96 percent, compared with 75 percent in 2004.

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Bankrupt hospital hopes changes will ward off closure

5 10 2009

Bankrupt St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic is hoping to revitalize itself by offering a speedier emergency room and other services to make it more marketable, officials said. The fast-track ER, which promises to treat and discharge some patients in an hour or less opened Monday. St. Mary’s has also expanded its infusion and chemotherapy center and brought in a specialized wound care nursing team as well as a new team of emergency medicine specialists and “hospitalist” doctors trained to care for hospitalized patients. The Home Depot company even spruced up the hospital’s landscaping by donating and installing $5,000 in cherry trees, mums, mulch and other plantings.

St. Mary’s, which was $100 million in debt when it declared bankruptcy in March, is making these changes in hopes it will recover financially and keep it from shutting down, as so many troubled hospitals in New Jersey have done in the past decade.

The new ER unit is part of the hospital’s “turn-around strategy, one of the many examples of how much healthier St. Mary’s is getting,” said Michael J. Sniffen, who tool over as the hospital’s president and chief executive officer in June.

The fast-track system for patients with non-life-threatening injuries or illnesses features five private exam and treatment rooms, including one for pediatric patients. Its $300,000 cost was financed by donations as well as golf tournaments and other fund-raising events,

The new ER system is “vital to the safety and health of the community” and the hospital, which handles 35,000 emergency department patients each year, Sniffen said.

“In a city with only one hospital, having a top-notch emergency room is a matter of life and death,” Sniffen said Monday.

About 50 hospital staffers and local officials lined the crowded hallway of the new facility for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the emergency unit Monday morning.

“I’m very impressed with your commitment to the community,” said state Health Commissioner Heather Howard, who attended the event.

St. Mary’s, she said, has been through “an admittedly very difficult time,” since the 292-bed hospital took over PBI Regional Medical Center at 350 Boulevard in 2006, and became the sole survivor of three hospitals in Passaic.

St. Mary’s received $45 million in state funds to help finance the acquisition of PBI. But it’s financial struggles forced it to declare bankruptcy in March.

“Three years ago, having no hospital in Passaic was a very real possibility,” Howard said. The state government is “forming a unique partnership to save the hospital. Governor Corzine wanted me to convey his support.”

“St. Mary’s has a very special place in my heart and Governor Corzine’s,” Howard said.

Despite the new programs, the hospital continues to struggle.

St. Mary’s, which lost $21 million last year, faces a Wednesday deadline in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Newark to provide a plan for its sale or reorganization or ask the court for an extension.

The hospital projects a loss of $4 million to $5 million through the end of 2009, said Vanessa Warner, a spokeswoman. There are also $30 million in claims filed against the hospital by a committee of unsecured creditors, said Brett Moore, a Morristown attorney who represents them.

Meanwhile, the hospital is negotiating changes in its collective bargaining contract with 480 unionized nurses and technicians of JNESO, who agreed last summer to accept salary cuts and other concessions until Oct. 16.

Talks with unionized employees have “made some progress, but we’re not there yet,” Sniffen said.

St. Mary’s finished accepting bids Monday for its former psychiatric facility at 211 Pennington Avenue, which the hospital will auction on Oct. 15. Although 211 Pennington has a $2.75-million lien against it, Sniffen expects people to bid on the property. “We hope it’s worth a lot of money,” he said.

St. Mary’s, which is sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth, can survive, but it needs outside help, Sniffen said in a recent interview.

St Mary’s is trying to close the very well needed psych unit.

19 08 2008

Editors notePCJN has learnt that the St Marys psych unit is very well needed. And also would like the resident’s of passaic county to know that, the psych unit last week was completely full. So where would these 38 beds go? Also many of the Patients at st Mary’s psych facility are voluntarily going to the psych facility however if they have to travel they probably would not go. And many of the low income families would not be able to visit there loved ones. Which is very important for such patients

 The overburdened mental health system in North Jersey is closely monitoring the proposed closure of the 38-bed psychiatric unit at St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic County, assessing the potential domino effect on other providers if the state approves the closure, officials said yesterday.

Chilton Memorial Hospital in Pequannock and Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville are two likely destinations for many patients, said officials, who noted such a move would make it less-than-convenient for some Passaic County families to visit loved ones who are hospitalized.

St. Mary’s has a pending application with the state Department of Health and Senior Services to close its 40-year-old psychiatric unit. Hospital officials said they don’t have adequate funds to continue the operation.

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