Feb. 27, 2015: Hospital Associations Issue Joint Statement on New Jersey’s FY 2016 Proposed Budget
The following is a joint statement of the Hospital Alliance of New Jersey, the New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals, the New Jersey Hospital Association, the Catholic Health Care Partnership of New Jersey and the Fair Share Hospitals Collaborative on the state fiscal year 2016 proposed budget:
“We’re very concerned about the proposed $148 million cut to hospitals, which could have a devastating impact on many New Jersey hospitals and their communities. While we’ve made some strides in insuring more New Jerseyans, 11.7 percent of New Jersey’s 8.9 million residents remain uninsured. Charity Care and Medicaid are a statewide challenge. Hospitals depend on Charity Care funding to support the care of those 1 million New Jersey residents who are still uninsured and to offset insufficient Medicaid payments, but the budget introduced this week doesn’t recognize the ongoing challenges hospitals face as they provide excellent care for all.
“In 2013, hospitals spent more than $1 billion treating uninsured patients. Today, more than 400,000 additional people are covered by expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, but Medicaid pays hospitals just 70 percent of the actual costs of patient care. Our hospitals struggle to fulfill their caring mission when they lose money each time they care for a Medicaid beneficiary.
“We’re especially concerned that the cut to Charity Care would cost our state $74 million in federal matching funds. Just as hospitals have worked hard to provide the most efficient care possible in a rapidly changing healthcare system, the Governor and Legislature have worked hard to be fiscally responsible in a shifting economy. Unfortunately, cutting support to hospitals and leaving federal matching dollars on the table would be a great loss to hospitals and to New Jersey.
“We are, however, appreciative that the Governor’s budget recognizes the vital role of teaching hospitals in our state. Healthcare redesign depends on an adequate supply of physicians – especially in primary care – and teaching hospitals are their training grounds. It’s an essential part of our industry’s ongoing work to care for the people of our state.
“Our hospital community has been committed to being part of the solution in transforming our healthcare system to help sustain it for the future. It’s a time of great change in our industry, and we need additional analysis and details to determine the full impact of this budget on hospitals and their patients. We want to be sure there are no unanticipated consequences at this important time in healthcare, and we ask the Governor’s office to join with us and the Legislature to restore these cuts and protect the health of each New Jersey resident.”