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Hospital Groups Stand United on State Budget
Date:4/21/2009

TRENTON, N.J., April 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Four associations representing the state's 114 hospitals have reached a consensus position on the state's proposed healthcare budget for 2010.

Among other principles, the groups urged the state to examine all avenues for additional federal matching funds and agreed on a minimum floor that all hospitals should receive this year for charity care funding.

The agreement was shared today with members of the state Legislature by the four hospital groups -- the New Jersey Hospital Association, the Council of Teaching Hospitals, the Hospital Alliance of New Jersey and The Catholic Healthcare Partnership of New Jersey. The consensus was reached through the work of NJHA's Joint Charity Care Task Force, which has met since last fall with hospital leaders, state legislators and members of the Corzine Administration to achieve a consensus approach to the state's perennial debate over charity care funding. That work was especially critical in the current environment, with state revenues sagging while hospitals struggle to provide critical services and jobs amid growing financial challenges.

As partners with the state, the Task Force wanted to do its part to help maximize New Jersey's federal funding to stave off any hospital cuts. It has identified existing state dollars (currently paid by hospitals to support federally qualified health centers) that could be used to garner up to $20 million in additional federal matching funds that could be used to support hospitals -- all while maintaining current funding levels for the FQHCs.

"New Jersey is a richly diverse state, and so are its hospitals. Reaching a consensus position is no small undertaking," said NJHA President and CEO Betsy Ryan. "The fact that the industry is in agreement shows the critical condition our hospitals are in and the essential need for state funding that will allow them to remain open
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SOURCE New Jersey Hospital Association
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