State Senator Joe Vitale and Renee Steinhagen (New Jersey Appleseed) have requested that the New Jersey Department of Health appoint a temporary manager to run Meadowlands Hospital. Click below to read their letters.
Press Release Issued By Renee Steinhagen, NJ Appleseed
December 17, 2012
For more information contact Renee Steinhagen, NJ Appleseed
Newark, NJ… Claiming that MHA, the for-profit owners of Meadowlands Hospital are “operating with their own set of rules – none of which ensure public health,welfare and safety”and citing their repeated violations of patient safety and financial reporting laws, NJ Appleseed , a public interest law center, is asking the Commissioner of the NJ Department of Health (NJDOH) to place a ‘Temporary Manager’ at the hospital.
According to the N.J. Appleseed letter, dated December 4, “MHMC owners have repeatedly violated hospital licensing standards …and standards of good governance” and the DOH has repeatedly been asked by the Health Professionals and Allied Employees, as well as NJ Senators, to appoint a monitor to “ensure patient safety, compliance with licensure requirements and community accountability.”
N.J. Appleseed cites New Jersey statutues giving the DOH authority to appoint a temporary manager when a health care facility violates licensure regulations or other statutues meant to ensure patient safety and proper financial governance.
The deteriorating financial conditions at the hospital, coupled with repeated violations of patient safety laws and regulations since MHA purchased the hospital in December of 2010 prompted the request by NJ Appleseed. More than $10 million has been distributed to investors. according to materials submitted to NJ officials by hospital owners, while as of August 2012, the hospital allegedly lost more than $1.1 million, and the owners defaulted on a $5million loan.
N.J. Appleseed also cites numerous changes the hospital owners have made in violation of the conditions to which they had agreed as part of the Court Order approving the transfer of ownership to a for-profit entity, including:
· Changes and reductions in clinical services and in provision of outpatient and preventive services;
· Failure to provide annual reports on board policies and reports of investments;
· Termination of nurses, technicians, dietary and other support staff;
· Disputes with health insurers that threaten the community’s access to care.
According to Renée Steinhagen, director of N.J. Appleseed, “We are asking that a temporary manager be given authority and responsibility for overseeing an in-depth audit; for implementing measures to improve the hospitals’ financial stability; and to assure compliance with laws and regulations that will protect patients and proper financial practices. In addition, patient care policies and practices must be reviewed and the legal rights of employees and whistleblowers protected.”
The Health Professionals and Allied Employees, which represents the nurses and health care workers at Meadowlands Hospital supported the request and Ann Twomey, President of HPAE commented, “This community deserves a hospital that puts patients first, before profits, and it is the responsibility of the NJ Department of Health to make that happen. For two years, nurses and health care workers have reported problems with patient care, services for the community and financial irregularities. It is critical that we find a way to assure proper patient care and safety for both patients and workers.”