Taken from Politico
May 27, 2022
As the state continues to recover from the overwhelming Covid-19 pandemic and is flush with cash due to higher than expected tax revenues — and billions in federal Covid dollars — Newark’s University Hospital may be primed with its best shot at acquiring desperately needed funding for infrastructure upgrades and construction of a new campus.
Health Professionals and Allied Employees, the state’s largest union of registered nurses and health care professionals, and Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex) have been leading the charge to sufficiently finance the state’s sole public hospital, which also counts Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. as another ardent supporter.
Ruiz noted that “it’s not about building another hospital,” but making University Hospital, a level one trauma center that receives many patients transferred from other hospitals and falls within the senator’s district, “a premier institution.”
“What I envision is a hospital embedded into a labyrinth of an anchor institution that brings on economic development, that brings on research dollars, that helps the Rutgers Medical Group grow and thrive, that attracts people living in the area,” Ruiz said.
HPAE is pushing for $151.1 million for the coming fiscal year — up from the $44.7 million slated under Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed budget — and $600 million in American Rescue Plan State Fiscal Recovery Funds to be allocated towards a new building. President Debbie White underscored various infrastructure issues with the building, including frequent power outages, flooding, equipment failures, and antiquated technology, in an urgent call for funding.
“We are really hoping because we have such a surplus that we’re going to get the money to build a new hospital,” White told POLITICO. “This hospital’s crumbling; it is falling down. It is ridiculous to think that we can expect the same thing we’ve always expected of University Hospital without funding University Hospital, and without building a new building.”