HPAE is releasing a position paper providing an analysis of University Hospital financial state in contrast to comparable hospitals, as the Union calls on Gov. Phil Murphy and NJ legislators to designate at least $600 million from the state’s American Rescue Plan funds as down payment for building a new medical campus for University Hospital in Newark.
The paper further challenges state officials to adequately fund the operation of the state’s only public hospital by raising its annual budget allocation to $151.1 million. Annual allocations over the past decade have averaged $43 million.
HPAE President Debbie White said University Hospital, against all odds, has grown to become New Jersey’s premier medical teaching and research hospital, flourishing despite chronic lack of support from the state.
“Imagine if a parent offered to pay college tuition for the top grduates from the wealthiest families in town, but neglected to fund their own child’s education” White asked. “We would question that parent’s decision and their commitment to their own child. Similarly, it is essential that our governor and New Jersey’s legislature, the ‘parents’ of University Hospital, provide the financial backing to support the $1.2 billion estimated cost of replacing UH’s 43-year-old deteriorating campus.”
The HPAE position paper, titled Fulfilling the Historic Charge of University Hospital in Newark: and Sustaining the Opportunity for Public Health for Future Generations of New Jerseyans, lays out fiscal challenges the hospital faces and the disadvantaged position the hospital holds severely limiting the hospital’s ability to fund this project on its own. The paper highlights data that shows UH has one of the most antiquated hospital plants in New Jersey and, compared to other hospitals in the state, has extremely limited resources to make the necessary investments to address those deficiencies.
University Hospital grew out of the cataclysm of racial uprisings in the city of Newark in the 1960s, leading ultimately to “The Newark Agreement,” signed in 1968, between Newark City officials, community activists, federal housing officials, the state of New Jersey and Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey. The state took over the former Newark City Hospital with a promise to turn it into a premier hospital that would meet the needs of the community, and the entire state.
Located in Newark’s Central Ward — home mostly to members of the city’s African American population and other people of color — University Hospital has become an important public health institution not just to the state of New Jersey but also regionally in many types of emergent situations, including the COVID-19 crisis.
Previous state government administrations have, however, failed to adequately fund the operation of the hospital and the facility has become antiquated, with a crumbling infrastructure. To date, there have been almost no capital investments in the facility that was built 43 years ago. Rutgers, meanwhile, has largely reneged on commitments it made to secure land to build a medical school in the city.
For a few months now, HPAE members, the union’s staff and its officers have been organizing and collaborating with community activists to lobby New Jersey legislators to do right by UH and the New Jersey residents the hospital is charged to serve.
“It is important that the state government and legislature designate the financial resources needed to best position the hospital to fund the $1.2 billion estimated cost of a new University Hospital campus,” White said.
Fore more information, contact: Michael Allen, (646) 436-7556.