April 9, 2008

Save Our Hospitals, Part 3 — Muhlenberg defense moves to Trenton

Plainfield residents, hospital employees and POP members at the State House steps


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We will be back, and on a weekday when the Assembly is in session!This statement, these sentiments probably best sum-up the success as well as challenges of the rousingly impressive march and rally to save Muhlenberg Hospital on the NJ State House in Trenton this past Saturday, April 5.

Our rally exceeded all expectations from the week before. While the ad hoc coalition that the Plainfield Branch of the People's Organization for Progress had organized of hospital employees, community residents and elected officials (see previous Fire on the Mountain posts POP says “Save Our Hospitals!" and “Save Our Hospitals!” It's personal… for background info) has continued to meet weekly, and while a group of doctors from the hospital volunteered to cover the cost of ten buses to Trenton, the efforts by the for-profit hospital corporation that bought Muhlenberg to create the illusion that the closing was written in stone appeared to be gaining traction. At least in the press.

A portion of the massive rally in Trenton


Because of this, a rising level cynicism about the community's chances of success seemed to engulf the coalition. And while it is essential to follow Amilcar Cabral's advice to "tell no lies; claim no easy victories" (to realize exactly how hard it will be to keep the hospital from being closed), it is also important to not be overcome by the difficulty of a battle before it is lost. As speaker after speaker pointed out in Trenton, Solaris Corporation spends significant effort trying to convince us that their appeal to close Muhlenberg has already been approved by the NJ Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, when the commission had merely agreed to hear the request.

Muhlenberg's physicians paid the cost of ten large crosscountry-style buses to Trenton, enough to transport up to 480 people. The overwhelming success of Saturday's march on the State House is indicated by the nearly six hundred folks who came from Plainfield, both in the provided buses and by their own cars!


DEMANDS OF THE PEOPLE WHO OPPOSE CLOSING MUHLENBERG REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER
WE DEMAND
  1. Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center (MRMC) remain open as a full service "essential" hospital.
  2. An immediate halt to the the transfer, termination, or shut down of any MRMC services, procedures, departments, units, equipment and other assets; an immediate halt to the transfer and lay-off of employees; an immediate halt to the diversion of insured and uninsured patients from MRMC to other facilities; and the maintenance of the "status quo" at MRMC at least until the Certificate of Need application process has been completed and a decision is issued by the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services.
  3. No further action be taken to close MRMC until a total community needs assessment is completed by an independent entity.
  4. Solaris Health Systems, Inc. (Solaris), with regards to MRMC, adhere to the Certificate of Need application process as set forth by state law.
  5. The restoration of all of services, procedures, departments, employees, units, equipment, and other assets that have been transferred from MRMC or shut down. They must be restored to insured and uninsured patients alike at MRMC.
  6. Solaris provide a full report on the evaluation of alternatives it considered for MRMC to remain a full service hospital.
  7. Solaris provide a complete accounting of the endowment funds it is holding in the name of Muhlenberg Hospital and the nursing school, and how these funds will be used in the event of MRMC closure.
  8. Solaris provide a backup plan for Emergency Management in the event of a catastrophe if MRMC is closed.
  9. Solaris provide a plan for eliminating loss of life and deterioration of healthcare delivery services to the elderly, the uninsured, the physically and mentally impaired and patients who lack transportation to other hospitals in the event of MRMC closure.

The struggle continues…
Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs addresses Trenton Rally


[And thanks to The Union Girl for spreading the word!]

2 comments:

The Union Girl said...

ah, schucks, you're welcome.

st. lucifer's kid's said...

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