Cardinale Says Pascack Valley Hospital Should Be Allowed to Create Jobs, Lower Health Costs

December 23, 2009

Senator Gerald Cardinale, R-Bergen, said the state Health Department should stop playing politics, help consumers and boost the economy by letting Hackensack University Medical Center re-open Pascack Valley Hospital.

“The most vocal opponents of Pascack Valley are well-paid executives of hospitals that don’t want a competitor cutting into their profits,” Cardinale said. “Consumers know competition is the best way to improve quality and lower the cost of health care in their communities.”

Blocking the licensing of the proposed 128-bed hospital prevents patients from having a full range of choices on health care and stalls the construction work that could be creating critically needed jobs during this recession, Cardinale said.

Cardinale said he suspects politics played a key role in the decision of the state Health Department, which waited until the dying moments of Corzine administration to rule that Pascack Valley shouldn’t get a six-month extension on its effort to re-license the hospital. Other hospitals have routinely been granted such extensions when needed to gather all the facts and data to make their cases for renewal, Cardinale said.

“An appointee of Governor-elect Chris Christie should have been allowed to make this decision, given that for many voters in the area, the election was a referendum on whether the hospital should be re-opened,” Cardinale said. “For many, support for the licensing of this hospital became THE reason to vote for Governor Christie in November.”

Cardinale suggested that instead of inviting expensive lawsuits, state health officials should wait until the new governor takes office and a new health commissioner is picked to decide on the licensing of Pascack Valley.