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Senior Citizens, Unions, Physicians and Nurses Groups Lend Support to Hospitals' State House Rally

TRENTON, N.J., May 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A diverse coalition of groups including AARP, the Medical Society of New Jersey and scores of additional organizations representing healthcare workers, nursing homes, mental health agencies and others raised their voices today in support of New Jersey hospitals.

More than 2,500 hospital advocates amassed at the State House today in the "Care Today, Gone Tomorrow" rally. The group protested the nearly $300 million in proposed state cuts to healthcare programs, including a $143 million hit to the charity care program that funds hospital care for the uninsured.

Nearly 20 organizations shared statements of support with the hospital crowd. They include:

"AARP believes that cutting funding for charity care too drastically could endanger local access to healthcare services. Cuts to healthcare providers and increased barriers to services will only make matters worse for everyone." - Sy Larson, AARP State President

"Our members, the 12,000 nurses and healthcare workers in HPAE, are on the frontlines of delivering quality healthcare in times of enormous financial stresses on our healthcare system. Now is not the time to cut funding to our hospitals, but it is time to find new ways to provide health coverage to all of our communities Cutting care to our hospitals simply shifts the costs of healthcare onto our patients and hospitals, who cannot carry the additional burden without threatening access to quality care." - Ann Twomey, President, Health Professionals and Allied Employees

"Whereas, Gov. Corzine has proposed massive cuts in the charity care budget and hospitals will see millions of dollars cut from their charity care programs, ..., and whereas, to demonstrate the Medical Society of New Jersey's goodwill in the spirit of cooperation and in opposition to this unfair and harmful cut to the healthcare budget, which will result in diminished care for New Jersey's medically indigent patients, now therefore be it resolved that the Medical Society of New Jersey stands in support of the New Jersey Hospital Association's efforts to prevent the proposed cuts in the charity care budget." - Michael Kornett, CEO and Executive Director, and R. Prasad Gupta, MD, President, Medical Society of New Jersey

"An $18 million cut in Graduate Medical Education funding could eliminate 4,000 physicians-in-training positions over a 10-year period, exacerbating New Jersey's protected physician shortage. In addition, already six hospitals in the last 18 months have closed their doors forever. Half of our remaining healthcare institutions are losing money - victims of chronic underfunding. The Corzine Administration has even admitted its latest cuts are likely to force the closure of additional hospitals. The future of healthcare in New Jersey depends on us making our concerns heard." - Richard Goldstein, MD, President, N.J. Council of Teaching Hospitals

"We agree with Gov. Corzine's statements that healthcare access for the poor and vulnerable should be a priority that is not sacrificed. Without restoration of the cuts, the poor and vulnerable will be harmed as programs are forced to close." - Fr. Joe Kukura, Executive Director, Catholic HealthCare Partnership of New Jersey

"To cut charity care funding by $143 million is irresponsible and dangerous. As nurses, this concerns us deeply. We diligently strive to provide timely, appropriate and compassionate care to all in need. However, we fear the increased burden on the remaining open hospitals will create unsafe situations, result in decreased patient satisfaction and foster less positive patient outcomes." - Patricia Daley, RN, Executive Director, Organization of Nurse Executives/New Jersey

"We are deeply concerned about the cumulative impact of cuts to the hospital system on the mental health services provided to New Jersey's most vulnerable citizens. The combination of reductions in Charity Care, Graduate Medical Education and Medicaid rates for children's and adult partial hospitalization services, as well as the closures of numerous hospitals, threatens access to critical mental health services for individuals in need." - Debra L. Wentz, Chief Executive Officer, New Jersey Association of Mental Health Agencies

"The Association of Diploma Schools of Professional Nursing supports the N.J. Hospital Association's efforts to reinstate the more than $143 million in cuts to the charity care subsidy. The proposed cuts will cause more hospital closures and less access to care for the state's most vulnerable citizens. We need quality, accessible healthcare in our state." - Bonny Ross, EdD, RN, President, Association of Diploma Schools of Professional Nursing

"As Patient Advocates working in New Jersey hospitals, we are extremely concerned about the Governors proposed $143 million subsidy cut to charity care and the $90 million cut to our nursing centers. We see patients everyday within our hospitals and nursing homes who do not have insurance or adequate insurance to cover the costs of their care. Even now, with the current levels of funding, it is extremely upsetting for patients and families to have long waits in our Emergency Departments because of the volume of patients that come to our facilities with no insurance. For some of my colleagues, these cuts will mean the closure of their hospital. What will that do to the waits in the surrounding area's Emergency Departments and hospitals? How long will people in New Jersey have to wait to receive the care they need - if they can receive it at all? We join NJHA in support of all its efforts to work with the Governor to help him see how these cuts will affect the most vulnerable of his constituents, as well as the workers who put themselves on the line each and every day in an effort to provide the care our patients need." - Teresa Lawlor, President, New Jersey Society for Healthcare Consumer Advocates

"As a long time partner in the effort to deliver healthcare services to the uninsured and underserved, the Home Care Association of New Jersey supports the New Jersey Hospital Association and its campaign to direct additional funding in the budget for this important purpose. Home health agencies across this state provide uncompensated care each and every day and thus we encourage the state to increase charity care for hospitals and reimbursement for other providers who are critical to the healthcare system." - Sherl Brand, President and CEO, Home Care Association of New Jersey

"The compounded effect of reimbursement cuts contained in past budgets is taking its toll on nursing facilities and the residents for whom they provide care. The 29,000 frail and elderly Medicaid beneficiaries who depend on nursing facilities for their care simply cannot afford to have their Medicaid payments to these facilities reduced yet again." - Paul Langevin, President, Health Care Association of New Jersey

"The state's charity care plan fails not only New Jersey's hospitals, but also the vulnerable patients they serve. Most of these individuals are New Jersey's working poor, those who hold jobs but who do not receive an insurance benefit and can't afford health insurance on their own. Every hospital across the state provides care for these patients in the Emergency Room and throughout the hospital. On behalf of the Healthcare Planning and Marketing Society of New Jersey, I respectfully urge the State to reinstate funding for charity care in the 2009 budget." - Anthony Stanowski, President, Healthcare Planning and Marketing Society of New Jersey

"As providers of occupational therapy in New Jersey's hospitals, nursing homes and community facilities, our members address recovery of important life skills for citizens at risk of losing them due to illness, accident or developmental problems. The lack of accessible healthcare within these critical institutions will cause greater dependency and greater cost for everyone in the state, and in the end, for the state as well - this is not a cost savings." - Cynthia Epstein, State Liaison, New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association

"The disappearance of hospitals in our communities not only means the loss of thousands of jobs, but more importantly, it seriously impedes access to quality healthcare. Governor Corzine's 2009 budget proposes nearly $300 million in healthcare cuts, including $143 million for charity care services for the uninsured and a total of $90 million in state and federal cuts to nursing homes. Should this proposed cut go through, New Jersey will undoubtedly see more hospital closures and job reductions. New Jersey hospitals and their employees provide the safety-net care to our uninsured residents. We respectfully ask our elected officials to support appropriate funding for charity care in the 2009 budget and oppose the proposed cuts to this program." - Micki McIntyre, Chair, NY-NJ Chapter of the Medical Library Association

"The Health Sciences Association of New Jersey Library Association ( fully supports and appreciates the efforts of healthcare advocates attending the rally on May 12, 2008. It is imperative that all members of the New Jersey healthcare community work together in order to ensure that New Jerseyans continue to have access to quality healthcare." - Jeannine Creazzo, President, Health Sciences Library Association of New Jersey

"All demographic forecasts show a growth in the number of people over 65. As our citizens age there will clearly be a need for more hospitals and nursing homes. This is the sort of factual research information that needs to underpin actions about government policy and decisions. Libraries of all types, but in particular those in government and the medical field, can provide this support. It would seem unfathomable that a case could be made for fewer hospitals, fewer nursing homes and fewer medical libraries in healthcare settings." - Stephen Abram, President, Special Libraries Association

"Access to healthcare by our most vulnerable population has been eroding for years. The Governor's proposed budget will now accelerate the crisis by forcing even more hospitals to close. The Hospital Fund Raising Executives of New Jersey decries the reduction in charity care and supports rational prioritization of budget cuts." - Roman N. Lucky, President, Hospital Fund Raising Executives of New Jersey

"As a board member and secretary for the N.J. Chapter HiMSS, it is most important that our children, the elderly and all residents of New Jersey be given the opportunity to receive good - no, excellent - healthcare. We cannot turn our backs on the institutions and the caregivers. Please support our hospitals, doctors and nurses. Do not cut the spending in healthcare." - Anthony Ferrante, Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society

"As President of The New Jersey Association of Healthcare Recruiters, I am concerned about healthcare delivery in our state and support the efforts proposed by NJHA to maintain our healthcare institutions as viable resources and services for our citizens. We are fortunate to have qualified nurses and allied health professionals available in our state to be able to deliver the care that New Jerseyans are seeking and need." - Diane Poulios, RN, President, New Jersey Association of Healthcare Recruiters

"Hospitals are a vital part of any community and the perceived cost saved by closing hospitals cannot measure up to the price communities will pay because residents lack access to quality, local healthcare." - Tim Collins, President, EBSCO Publishing

"Knowing the state and the quality of care residents receive from New Jersey hospitals, it is alarming to consider the impact of such widespread hospital closures. Communities and the state at large depend on these services to provide for the financially neediest residents to the sickest individuals. Closing hospitals cannot be the answer to a fiscal crisis, but rather an invitation to further crises." - Parker Livermore, Senior Director of Worldwide Medical Sales, EBSCO Publishing

SOURCE New Jersey Hospital Association
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