Hospitals Unite to Save Regional EMS System

In an open letter to state legislators, leaders of four health systems with eight hospitals in Central and South Jersey denounced legislation today that would disrupt the current regional emergency medical system in the state.  

The letter, signed by leaders of Capital Health System, Lourdes Health System, St. Francis Medical Center and Virtua, asks legislators to vote NO on S-2980/A-4526, legislation that would “exclusively authorize” a level 1 trauma center to develop and maintain Advanced Life Support (ALS) services in the municipality in which it is located.  The bill would further allow that level 1 trauma center to have the right of first refusal to provide Basic Life Support (BLS) services in that municipality. Additionally, the legislation would allow any acute care hospital that is within the same health system as a level 1 trauma center to apply, under expedited review, to provide ALS services in the municipality where that acute care hospital is located.

“Our institutions have a long-standing history of supporting and collaborating with the regional Mobile Intensive Care Units that have been serving this region with distinction since the inception of the state’s program and we object to two hospitals’ attempt to circumvent the established regulatory process in order to gain special advantage,” the hospital leaders wrote in the letter.

“This pending legislation, S-2980/A-4526, would undermine a well-established regional EMS system and does not represent a movement toward a better-coordinated system.  It does not ensure higher quality or better patient outcomes. It only serves to advance the special interests of two institutions in the regions of the state that we serve.”  

The letter was signed by Al Maghazehe, PhD, FACHE, president and CEO of Capital Health System; Alex Hatala, president and CEO of Lourdes Health System; Vincent M. Costantino, Chief Adminstrative Officer of St. Francis Medical Center; and Richard P. Miller, president and CEO of Virtua.