Hospital Alliance of New Jersey Presents 'CARES Award' to Legislative Leaders
Sweeney & Prieto honored for leadership & commitment to protecting safety net healthcare in urban communities
Trenton, NJ – On December 9, 2015, CEOs from 17 of New Jersey’s top safety net hospitals presented Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Prieto with the first-ever CARES Awards for their dedication to protecting healthcare access in New Jersey’s low-income communities. The Hospital Alliance CARES Award (Commitment to Access and Recognition of the Essential role of Safety net hospitals) celebrates leaders in New Jersey who have influenced policy statewide, have engaged with the Hospital Alliance Board to recognize the challenges facing safety net providers, and have worked closely with urban hospital leaders to underscore the importance of safety nets in their communities.
“The Hospital Alliance is awarding Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto the CARES Award because they have proven to be effective advocates for preserving safety nets in New Jersey,” said Joe Scott, Chairman of the Hospital Alliance and President and CEO of Jersey City Medical Center/Barnabas Health. “They truly understand the role safety net hospitals play as healthcare providers, job creators, and centers of our communities, and the challenges we face in providing high-quality healthcare in our urban markets. They have also exhibited the ability to move policy to improve health and wellness: the Senate President has shown a firm commitment to help bring patient-centered care to all New Jerseyans and his ongoing support for innovative programs that focus on all the factors that impact the health of urban residents, while Speaker Prieto has fought for urban revitalization and economic development in the areas our member hospitals serve."
“In short, the Senate President and the Speaker recognize that the health of our communities, our residents, and our economy are all inextricably linked. And that the heart of that system is the safety net,” added Scott.
“New Jersey’s safety net hospitals are vital members of our communities,” said Senate President Sweeney. “Not only do they provide health services to some of our most vulnerable citizens – regardless of their ability to pay –they also serve as key drivers of economic opportunity, employing over 30,000 people and bringing thousands of resident physicians to urban hospitals. They serve their communities in many ways.”
“We have to continue to work to make sure that quality healthcare is affordable and available to everyone in New Jersey and we have to make special efforts to address the needs of urban communities that continue to struggle with homelessness, addiction, and unmet behavioral health issues. New Jersey’s safety net hospitals are key players because they are mission-driven organizations that care for the uninsured, the poor, the elderly, the homeless, and the addicted. They are there to meet those needs. Because of the important impact they have on our communities, and their unique challenges, I stand with safety nets, I support their work and I am committed to helping them ensure we have a sustainable health system for all New Jersey residents,” added Sweeney.
“New Jersey’s safety net hospitals face many challenges, and yet they continue to provide significant community benefits,” said Assembly Speaker Prieto. “These hospitals provide critical access to care for many of our underserved communities, act as significant engines of economic opportunity in our cities, and play a vital role in training the healthcare workforce of tomorrow.
“Without a well-supported and sustainable safety net health system, the health and wellness of our urban centers will suffer. These hospitals provide a lifeline for our state, improve the health and wellness of our communities, and employ our citizens” added Prieto, “and for that reason, we must protect them.”
Established in 1993, Hospital Alliance of New Jersey serves as the voice of urban and teaching hospitals in our state and at the federal level. Hospital Alliance supports access to quality medical care, meeting the special healthcare needs of the people in our cities, and securing and maintaining the funding necessary to train tomorrow’s physicians. Our 17 member hospitals represent 25 percent of New Jersey acute care hospitals, provide more than half of the Charity Care and Medicaid care in the state, collectively employ 32,000 full time equivalent positions, and provide care for more than 250,000 inpatient visits and over 3.5 million outpatient visits each year.
Hospital Alliance President and CEO Suzanne Ianni added that while the Affordable Care Act extended coverage to hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans, almost a million remain uninsured and need a viable safety net health system to care for them. “Even for those who gained coverage, safety net hospitals remain their primary access point for care – and that access must be preserved,” said Ianni. “We are grateful to our legislative leaders for standing with us.”
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Pictured (Left to Right): Gary Horan, Trinitas Regional Medical Center; Suzanne Ianni, Hospital Alliance; Bruce Markowitz, Palisades Medical Center; Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney; Joe Scott, Jersey City Medical Center/Barnabas Health; Kevin Slavin, St. Joseph’s Healthcare System; Kevin O’Dowd, Cooper University Health Care; Vince Costantino, St. Francis Medical Center
Pictured (Left to Right): Suzanne Ianni, Hospital Alliance; Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto; Joe Scott, Jersey City Medical Center/Barnabas Health.