This modest fee and the matching federal funds it will generate will help safety net hospitals stay in business and continue to provide medical care for all those who benefit from their services.
Jersey City Medical Center, one of only two remaining hospitals in Jersey City, is currently regarded as the city’s safety net hospital. The nonprofit hospital recently announced plans to join the Barnabas Health system
The city’s other remaining hospital, Christ Hospital, was historically also regarded as a safety net hospital until it was purchased last year by the owners of Hoboken University Medical Center and Bayonne Medical Center. The hospital is now run as a for-profit medical facility.
If local governing bodies choose to participate, they will be allowed to enact the fee, capped at 5.47 percent, on hospitals in their jurisdictions – with the revenue and the matching funds it generates dedicated to Medicaid services. The mayors said it is a smart and effective way to leverage federal resources to help keep the safety net hospitals in operation and provide vital care for those who need it most.
“This legislation is vital for Jersey City to effectively capitalize on available federal funds and provide the hospital care our residents desperately need and deserve,” said Mayor-Elect Fulop. “It brings money to New Jersey from Washington and it will save lives.”
Fulop estimates the law would, conservatively, generate about $3 million for Jersey City’s poorest patients.
“This legislation is critical for hospitals in New Jersey’s cities that provide care for our most vulnerable residents,” said Mayor Booker. “The critics may try to mischaracterize this plan, but it is an innovative way to capture federal dollars and target their use to the hospitals that provide a safety net for those most in need of medical care. It will deliver resources to hospitals without burdening taxpayers or local government.”
“This hospital fee idea succeeded in Philadelphia and it can succeed in New Jersey,” said Mayor Redd. “We all lose if these hospitals can no longer operate and we all will pay the price if these patients aren’t given the medical care they need.” – E. Assata Wright