For much too long there has been unfair treatment of urban hospitals, such as Community Medical Center in Toms River, when it comes to Medicare payments in comparison to Medicare payments to hospitals in rural areas. The theory in the past was that rural hospitals served more Medicare patients than urban hospitals. This theory is no longer true and many urban hospitals such as Community Medical Center are highly dependent on Medicare payments since they serve high proportions of Medicare patients.
There is some good news. New Jersey legislators are leading the fight to balance the playing field. It has been reported that there are 85 hospitals across the country and nine in New Jersey alone that have not been treated fairly. Legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Robert Menendez and in the House by Rep. Chris Smith and they have both secured some co-sponsors from other states. There is much work to still be done.
A broad multi-state coalition must be formed to move this legislation, which would level the playing field. It is vital for the financial health of Community Medical Center and all the other hospitals involved. If and when an opportunity arises, we should encourage our Federal Legislators to continue to push for the passage of this legislation.
Michael Fressola, Mayor