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NJHA: No Hospital Safe from State's $143 Million Cut
Date:3/10/2008

08 million in hospital support that was eliminated from the budget, plus an additional $35 million that was diverted from charity care to a new healthcare stabilization fund. State officials said there are no hard guidelines yet for how that money will be distributed, but the money is intended to be used for one-time allocations for communities with closed hospitals or to assist financially strapped facilities.

Meanwhile, the amount of charity care delivered by the state's hospitals stands at $1.3 billion, leaving hospitals to absorb a shortfall of more than $700 million. State records place the total amount of charity care at roughly $950 million, but that figure is based on Medicaid reimbursement rates and fails to adjust for the fact that Medicaid only pays hospitals 70 percent of their actual costs.

NJHA's analysis of the impact on individual hospitals is based on hospitals' 2006 charity care levels and is subject to change. State officials say they plan to distribute funds based on 2007 data, but that data is not expected to be finalized until June.

"These are preliminary numbers, but it's important for our hospitals to have forewarning," said Ryan. "With cuts of this magnitude, they will need time to make some hard choices about cutting services, eliminating jobs or even if they can stay open at all."

NJHA said the cuts are likely to accelerate the unprecedented pace of hospital closures in the state. In the past 18 months alone, four acute care hospitals have closed, four have announced plans to close, and five others have filed for bankruptcy protection. In fact, New Jersey has lost 30 percent of its acute care hospitals in the last 20 years, from 112 to 78.

Those closures are sparking a great deal of concern among Garden State residents. A new poll released today by Monmouth University shows that 74 percent of residents disapprove of the Governor's plan to cut charity care. The hospital cuts registered the highes
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SOURCE New Jersey Hospital Association
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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