Monday, December 22, 2008

Top 2008 Issue: Muhlenberg

After 130 years of service and despite a massive outcry from activists and officials, Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center closed as an acute care facility on Aug. 13.

Protests began in early 2008 and continued through the year. Rallies here and in Trenton, marches and vigorous objections at two New Jersey State Health Planning Board meetings here were not enough to ward off state Health Commissioner Heather Howard’s decision that the hospital must close.

Attempts to find buyers did not come to fruition in time to prevent the closing. The “Save Muhlenberg” campaign then became the “Restore Muhlenberg” campaign, but challenges to the parent group, Solaris Health System, continue. Elected officials hold out the hope of a salvation, while residents still meet weekly to strategize for a way to be found to reopen an acute care facility in the hospital building. Although now designated as a “campus,” it still has an emergency room and other health care services.

Among the results of the closing, pregnant women are being directed to Elizabeth, to the newly-renamed Trinitas Regional Medical Center. Activists claim the distance has caused harm to both mothers in labor and infants born on the way to Trinitas. Emergency medical personnel are being asked to determine which of several area hospitals is most appropriate for a patient in the ambulance and activists say that families may not be able immediately to known where their loved ones were taken.

The extra minutes of transport to Summit, Edison, Somerville or elsewhere are deemed a threat to heart attack and stroke victims. There are many other complications for those who are chronically ill, as their doctors have dispersed to other sites.

Officials and residents are hoping to hold a health care forum before Dec. 31 in conjunction with a call from the Obama transition team for local discussions of this high priority policy issue. Sen. Tom Daschle, head of the transition’s Health Policy Team will appear in person at one of the nationwide grassroots meetings.

Hospital closings statewide and nationwide have affected millions of people and put lives at risk, activists say. The shrinking access to acute care also means there is less ability to respond to a pandemic or terrorist attack.

As of this writing, no date has been set for a forum and there is no outcome of talks with Solaris regarding appeals to Howard’s decision. As it was in 2008, health care and hospital access will most likely be the top issue in the community.
--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations are in order for Dan, Maria, Bernice, Cory, and the Doc; for looking the other way when it comes to the educational issues in the city of Plainfield. When I read the headlines in the Courier News, where Plainfield High School will have to implement a restructuring plan after failing to meet No Child Left Behind standards for a sixth year. I was especially surprised with the fact that school board member Wilma Campbell, wife of the Campbell/Mapp team, has served 3 years as chairman of the curriculum committee in the Plainfield school district.

I can see the timing of them coming out against Assemblyman Green, taking away from the attention of readers all over the state of NJ from reading about Plainfield’ school district. The Mapp/Campbell team speaks about all of the things the Assemblyman has not done, but here is a SHINING example of what they HAVE not done with the school district, they haven’t been fair or honest, and our CHILDREN are the ones that are suffering from their incompetency and personal vendettas. And what a coincidence, their children don’t go to the school in Plainfield, so what do they care about it?

I take my hat off to Assemblyman Green for not getting into silly politics when these individuals are doing more HARM to Plainfield than good. They have some nerve trying to bring back the old way of politicking in City Hall.

PS: Doc, you’re my kind of guy. At least you don’t mind letting your Republican affiliation be known throughout Plainfield. When is Adrian Mapp going to own up to his identity as a Card-Carrying republican? Also, Rashid Burney has decided to be neutral, but I’m hoping he’d continue to be man enough to print the truth on his blogs.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Mrs. Campbell as a BOE Member and chair of the curriculum committee is still a policy maker. She is not involved in the day to day operations of the schools, let alone the high school that has had as many principals in as many years. The Assemblyman is the one who sold out our CHILDREN with his Abbott vote. The school system is heading in the right direction. With all of the positive things we read, it is strange that one can point to a recent article about the high school which is doing well under new leadership. Mrs. Campbell is a BOE member. She sets policy. She does not run the district. More attention needs to be paid to the City which is in total shambles.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bernice, this post is about Muhlenberg of which the Jerry Green sold out the community. Where was the Mayor and the Assesmblyman when the hospital was being closed? Nowhere to be found.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The above two points are 100% correct. Jerry Green also sold out to the banks nationally. That is why we have the national financial meltdown. Jerry Green sold out to the state - that is why the state is in the mess we are in. Jerry Green sold out to Solaris - not the New Dems who were on the Muhlenberg Board and voted YES all the way.

The schools failure is Jerry Greens fault. Not the NEW DEMS who control the board.

The City is in shambles because of Jerry Green. Not because of the NEW DEMS who have controlled the Council for 5 straight years now.

We are still looking into Jerry Green's involvement into other affairs of National security. Where was Jerry Green when the Japanese bombed Pearl harbor? Why are Chrysler and GM asking for such a bail out? Now that Jerry Green is up for election next year? Where was Jerry Green when Hitler rolled into Poland and took over France? Oh, if only Jerry Green had not been around - where would civilization be now? I bet we would have had settlements on Mars by now. If only Jerry Green had not been around. It's all his fault anyway. Always is. Always will be.

11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has Jerry Green spoken to Jerry Green about Jerry Green? He speaks to everybody else about him. It would be an interesting conversation.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

I have to preface my comment by saying that I am not a resident of Plainfield. I fell in love with Plainfield when the DVR sent me to duCret School of Art. I am member of the Plainfield branch of the People's Organization for Progress. POP works hard to advocate for economic and social justice, an end to the violence that plagues our communities, and the right of the people to adequate healthcare.

The City of Plainfield has so much promise. The people of this historic community are it's greatest resource. That is why I dare to criticize the community and especially these anonymous five comments in the following manner and I hope that Bernice will post this.

A house divided against it self can not stand. Someone whose sandals I am not worthy of tying said that and it makes a lot of sense. If the people of Plainfield don't put their differences and discrepancies aside and start working together nothing is ever going to change.

Wouldn't it make more sense and be so much more productive to spend less time blaming each other and more time working together to change things for the better?

To me that most important victory I saw in our struggle to keep Muhlenberg open was that so many people came together for a common good. Black people, white people, hispanic, and asian, straight people, gay people, young, old, devote people of faith, atheists, democrats, republicans, rich people, poor people, we put our differences aside and worked together. That in and of itself is a victory. That is hat we need more of.

Tomorrow a new year will begin. Our community, our country, and our world teeters on the edge of disaster. There are enormous challenges ahead. I want a better world for my grandchildren. Please put your differences aside and make a news years resolution to be not afraid and work together. United we stand a chance of succeeding, divided we will definitely fail. Thank you for your consideration.

Mary Zink

9:44 AM  

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