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

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 General News
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TRENTON, N.J., May 12 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 h

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