By a vote of 44-31-1, the full Assembly on Monday granted final legislative approval to a bill sponsored by Assembly Democrats Eliana Pintor Marin and Elizabeth Maher Muoio to provide additional aid to hospitals in Newark and Trenton that provide high levels of uncompensated care to some of New Jersey’s poorest communities.
Specifically, the bill (S-2413/A-4003) would make supplemental appropriations to the FY 2017 Appropriation Act in the amount of $9,563,415 to the Department of Health for Grants-in-Aid to Newark Beth Israel Hospital and St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton to implement improved health outcomes and sustainable transformation of healthcare delivery.
“These two hospitals provide some of the highest levels of uncompensated care in the state,” said Pintor Marin (D-Essex). “This bill will help them overcome the challenges of providing health care in some of our poorest communities in order to continue delivering these essential services to our most vulnerable populations.”
“This legislation takes into account the nuances of delivering healthcare in an urban setting where many families lack health insurance coverage,” said Muoio (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “This supplemental aid will help offset the costs to hospitals that provide an invaluable service for the un- and underinsured, but are shortchanged by the current funding formula.”
According to state statute, every acute care hospital in the state is required to provide care to anyone who walks through their doors regardless of their ability to pay. To offset the costs to hospitals for uncompensated care hospitals receive subsidies. The formula for the subsidies provides for the hospitals that provide the most uncompensated care.
In addition, the hospital with the highest documented hospital-specific charity care in each of the 10 municipalities with the lowest median annual household income also receives 96 percent. This bill would make a supplemental appropriation to additional hospitals that provide a high level of uncompensated care.
The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk. If enacted, it would take effect on July 1, 2016.