Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
February 11, 1999
Trenton -- A new advisory commission will examine the hospital industry, assess the overall financial health of facilities, identify warning signs that might place a facility in jeopardy and recommend options for hospitals looking to merge or convert to other uses, Commissioner Len Fishman announced today.
The new commission -- formed at the direction of Gov. Christie Whitman -- is in response to a request by hospitals to study an industry that has undergone tremendous change in the last five years with mergers, acquisitions, competition for services, certificate of need reform and expanded managed care.
In their February 5 letter, hospital CEOs asked the Governor "to begin an immediate examination of our concerns and to work with us to devise solutions that will preserve our health care safety net, particularly in our urban areas."
The task force will bring together hospitals, employers, consumers, government, unions, doctors, nurses, and others involved in health care.
"Access to quality health care is one of the most important rights consumers have. We need to examine our hospitals in this state and the challenges they face in this very changing market place" the Governor said.
Over the last decade, some hospitals in New Jersey have consolidated, merged, joined systems or closed, the Governor noted. "Everybody including hospitals and government need to be prepared for any future changes," she added.
The advisory commission will also respond to the findings of a report by the state Health Care Facilities Financing Authority, which is analyzing the financial condition of the hospital industry in New Jersey. That report, expected in March, will be looking at capacity, demand, revenues and expenditures in hospitals.
The advisory commission is expected to report to the Commissioner in June.
In addition, a Hospital Assistance Unit will be created within the department to help hospitals and their boards explore options for their future, including restructuring, consolidation of services and changing the type of services offered. Hospitals need viable options to achieve a balance between their revenues and expenditures. The state will consider financial assistance to a hospital in retaining the consultants necessary to evaluate a hospital's current and future strategies.
"In using the new unit within the department, hospitals will be opening themselves up to a process that seriously considers some fundamental changes," said the Commissioner.
"We're saying to hospitals in need of help that they have to be pro-active at an early stage in order to get the best possible outcome."
The administration already has taken many actions to support hospitals, especially urban inner city hospitals that serve a disproportionate numbers of uninsured patients. These include:
Note: Members of the Advisory Commission on Hospitals have served on a prior committee that examined health care issues. Attached is the list of members.
NJ Carpenter's Fund
Sister Jane Frances Brady
The Honorable Michele Guhl
Lilton Taliaferro, Jr., Esq.
John Jacobi, Esq.
Dr. Gregory Sachs
Dr. Stuart Cook
The Honorable Jaynee LaVecchia
Frank Ciesla, Esq.
Charles Wowkanech |
NJ State AFL-CIO
Albert Tama, M.D.
The Honorable Jane Kenny
Dr. Jonathan Metsch
F. Kevin Tylus
The Honorable Jim DiEleuterio
The Honorable DeForest B. Soaries, Jr.
The Honorable Mel Gelade
Rev. Reginald T. Jackson