Over the past decade, New Jersey has lost far too many local community hospitals, the place of last resort health care for the poor and underserved. Under financial stress, these community hospitals, once committed to meeting community needs, are bought up by for-profit companies and transformed into moneymaking ventures. They make dramatic cuts to nursing and other support staff, and take the hospital out of insurance networks so they can charge anything they want – for even routine and simple services. Companies like CarePoint in Hudson County and California-based Prime Healthcare Service have gotten rich with these practices, to the detriment of local communities, driving up the cost of health care for everyone in New Jersey.
New Jersey Citizen Action works with our partners in the Campaign for Community Health Care to fight the sale of community hospitals to for-profit health care chains that employ these anti-consumer and anti-community practices, and bring these important issues to light. In alliance with nurses and other hospital medical staff, local community leaders, and community residents, we have demanded that the state Department of Health and the NJ Attorney General enforce pro-community pro-consumer conditions before approving any sale of a community hospital. These demands include pledging to keep the hospital and all its services open and available, maintaining safe staffing levels as well as keeping the hospital within insurance network. As we see more New Jerseyans with health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act, it is crucial that local hospitals be in-network to ensure care remains affordable.
As more hospital sales and mergers take place, and more for-profit hospital companies such as CarePoint and Prime Healthcare Services take over hospital care in New Jersey, NJ Citizen Action will continue to fight for stronger consumer-friendly requirements in hospital operation and closer oversight to ensure that these requirements are met. We and our partners will continue to fight for strong and adequate safe-staffing legislation as well as consumer protections against outrageous billing from out-of-network providers working in hospitals.
Community health in New Jersey is too important. And the health of our communities is not for sale!
For more information contact India Larrier at firstname.lastname@example.org