Statement of Cathy Bennett, NJHA President and CEO, on Gov.

|Aug 25|magazine4 min read

PRINCETON, N.J., Aug. 25, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- "We are dismayed that the Governor proposed this cut in the midst of an ongoing national health crisis. Never before has the essential role of our hospitals and their employees been more evident. Hospitals responded to the Governor's plea to expand capacity for COVID-19, quickly increasing the number of hospital beds by 60 percent so every COVID patient was assured access to care. Our hospitals sustained a combined impact of nearly $1 billion from lost revenue and increased expenses as COVID surged in our state, yet they continue to prepare for a future resurgence. And while the state struggles toward economic recovery, hospitals reliably provide 154,000 jobs and tens of millions of dollars in commerce with other N.J. businesses.

"Most states designate specific public hospitals to care for those without health insurance. New Jersey is one of just two states in the nation that does not. Instead, we have the charity care program which designates all of the state's hospitals to serve that vital role. COVID-19 revealed some of our state's greatest vulnerabilities – but our hospitals and their heroic staff members were always there for us. We are in the grips of the worst public health crisis in a century and tremendous federal uncertainty about future health policy. This is no time to cut charity care funding for our healthcare safety net and graduate medical education for tomorrow's healthcare heroes."

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SOURCE New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA)