NJ needs a Department of Health that puts patients first
The health care system we encounter as patients has changed dramatically in the past decade. In New Jersey, financially vulnerable hospitals have reduced services and staff, gone through bankruptcy or closed, undergone mergers and consolidations, and been purchased by for-profit, investor-owned companies.
In this rapidly changing environment, who can assure patients their care is safe and effective? Who can assure communities access to affordable and essential health services? Who can assure taxpayers that health care dollars are going to the provision of high-quality care rather than exorbitant profits?
During a period of seismic change in health care, New Jerseyans deserve to know that their state’s Department of Health is using its broad oversight and enforcement authority to fulfill its mandate to protect the public’s health. The disturbing reality is that under the Christie administration, the DOH has adopted a laissez-faire approach to oversight, an aversion to transparency, and a willingness to accept budget cuts and staff reductions as cover for abandoning its responsibilities. This lax approach to oversight has serious consequences for patient and worker safety, and for access to quality and affordable health care for our communities.
Read the rest of the oped here.