Taken from NJSpotlight, August 19, 2016
In online promotions designed to entice Russian women to travel to the United States to give birth at Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in New Jersey, operators rave about the facility’s clean rooms, high-quality care, and positive health outcomes for mother and baby.
But reports from national monitoring agencies paint a different picture of the struggling Secaucus hospital. And multiple state and federal inspections have flagged problems with its protocols and operations.
The disparity in these descriptions has prompted concerns for Sen. Joseph F. Vitale, (D-Middlesex), longtime chair of the Senate Health Committee, who has raised questions about Meadowlands Hospital over the years. The facility has a history of acrimonious relations with the state’s largest healthcare unions and multiple insurance companies and it has been fined more than $200,000 by state officials for late or missing financial filings.
Reacting to NJ Spotlight’s series on Meadowlands Hospital, published last week, Vitale has started to explore how the state monitors “truth in advertising” when it comes to hospitals. He has been talking to industry leaders and other stakeholders in recent days, and hopes to determine whether the state needs additional laws or regulations to ensure patients get what is promised in consumer pitches from medical facilities.
“You can’t just say you’re the best at something and not prove it,” Vitale said. “It’s one thing when you’re talking about hamburgers. That’s subjective. But we’re talking hospitals, not hamburgers.”
Vitale also hopes to have discussions with the New Jersey Hospital Association, the industry trade group. Kerry McKean Kelly, NJHA communications director, said, “We haven’t spoken with Sen. Vitale yet but we’re eager to hear his thoughts and see if there are ways we can collaborate. We agree that hospitals should adhere to high standards of accuracy in their advertising.”