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New Jersey Hospital Association head weighs-in on state budget proposal.

Byline: Jessica Perry

In response to Gov. Phil Murphy's Fiscal Year 2020 budget, Cathy Bennett, president and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association said that at a time when the state has numerous competing priorities, she appreciates Gov. Murphy's budget proposal preserves charity care funding to provide a safety net for the working poor uninsured, along with other important programs like graduate medical education to ensure that New Jersey has enough clinicians to meet our future care needs.

"That's vitally important to the health of New Jersey residents. Our health care system is in a transformative period, focusing on value, population health and the expectations of our health care consumers," said Bennett.

Health care providers, she added, are investing energy, resources and some really innovative thinking into these areas as they should. However, she said, New Jersey hospitals continue to face the age-old challenges of caring for people without health insurance.

According to Bennett in 2016, the most recent data available, New Jersey hospitals provided $565 million in charity care services to individuals.

"With the Governor's proposed funding of $262 million, New Jersey's hospitals will shoulder the burden of $303 million in unreimbursed care for our state's most vulnerable residents," said Bennett.

Meanwhile, Bennett said that the number of state residents insured through the Affordable Care Act's online marketplace has declined by 40,000 the last two years, and the state's uninsured rate is on the rise from 7.7 percent in 2017, to 8 percent in 2018, to 9 percent today.

"NJHA and its members have embraced a mission of improving the health of the people of New Jersey," said Bennett. "We appreciate a budget proposal that recognizes those same goals, and we welcome the opportunity for further discussion with elected leaders on the present, and the future, of our healthcare system, including the pressing need to adequately fund nursing homes and other providers who care for our seniors in post-acute settings."

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Author:Perry, Jessica
Publication:NJ Biz
Geographic Code:1U2NJ
Date:Mar 6, 2019
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