Tuesday, April 22, 2008

MUHLENBERG CLOSURE

Post Council Meeting Impressions

The presentations from Solaris officials and Assemblyman Green before a packed court room did little to change the fact that there is no money.

McGee reiterated that Muhlenberg has lost money for years. He stated that JFK (and Solaris) has loaned MH funds to the tune of several million dollars to keep it operational and now JFK was also in poor financial status.

I am naive about corporation finance s, but it seems to me that although big corporations have many units with separate budgets the financial statements are reported as a composite of all operations. Resources are shared through the parent, not borrowed or loaned. Certainly the source of losses as well as profits should be identified and corrective measures taken as needed. Does Solaris have such a financial balance sheet including its for profit components?

Give Green the benefit for trying at this late date to salvage some workable health care plan. However, all the surrounding hospitals together do not seem to have enough resources to make up for the loss of MH. Example JFK can absorb perhaps 500 of the 1100 yearly deliveries. Where will the rest go?? Will we have to have a birthing facility in the MH building? Or build a free standing facility? What will happen to patients in the MH ER who need emergency angioplasty? Will they become a statistic?

The New Jersey Commission on Rationalizing Health Care Resources lists at least 8 issues that should be addressed to determine whether a hospital is essential to maintain access to health care.

1. Whether the services provided by a hospital are available and accessible elsewhere in the hospitals market available. Accessibility is questionable

2. What the impact on residents would be in terms of travel time/distance to access hospital care in the event of the hospitals closure Bad

3. Whether a hospital is part of a hospital system and the resources available le—to support a financially distressed facility a-yes, b –no

4. What public transportation alterations or other solutions are available or would be necessary to maintain access to care in the event of a hospitals closure No satisfactory answer

5. What quality of care and efficiency improvements are possible and necessary in a financially distressed hospital not addressed to date

6. What potential access to care implications would be for (a) particular medical underserved population if a hospital were to close has not been completely and satisfactorily addressed

7. What the potential impact on access to key ambulatory services would be if a hospital ceased to act as an inpatient facility this can be no problem

8. What the impact on employment in the hospital market area would be should a hospital close loss of a minimum of 800 jobs

It would seem that the negatives outweigh the positives to justify closing the hospital except for one thing-MONEY.

(italics are my comments)

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