Wagner: Charges at Meadowlands Hospital Expose Christie Misstep

Assemblywoman Cites Latest Labor Violation Charges as Need for Financial Transparency Bill Christie Vetoed

Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-Bergen/Passaic) on Tuesday cited the latest labor law violation charges at Meadowlands Hospital as a reason Governor Christie should have signed the New Jersey Hospital Disclosure and Public Resource Protection Act (S-782).

The union representing nurses and health care workers maintains that MHA, LLC, the owners of Meadowlands Hospital, violated the collective bargaining agreement causing workers to undergo staffing reductions, bounced paychecks, changing health insurance, and a temporary loss of a prescription drug plan.

The legislation, which Wagner sponsored and Christie conditionally vetoed in August, would have required any for-profit hospital that receives charity care funding from the state to report certain financial information so that taxpayers and the state can see how their money is being spent.

“The heart of this legislation is about protecting patients. Taxpayers deserve to know that their money is being spent in their best interests and when they show up at the hospital they’re going to receive the best care possible.

“When hospitals abuse and neglect employees, it directly affects patient care, particularly when it comes to staff reductions. We hope this matter will be investigated thoroughly in the interest of fairness to employees and safety for patients.

“But this matter also speaks to something bigger. Hospitals need to be held accountable at all times, not just when employees finally stand up and say I’ve had enough. By conditionally vetoing legislation to require more financial transparency, the Governor has sided with CEO’s instead of patients and the hard-working employees that are entrusted with their care,” said Wagner.